Soho Classical meets Pieter de Graaf

Dutch pianist Pieter de Graaf recently performed in London, after the release of his EP ‘Prologue’.

Soho Classical asks him all the usual questions here! Enjoy ‘A Minor Story’ below:

When did you start composing playing the piano and why? When did your composing come in to it?

I honestly don’t know at what age I started playing the piano. Since there always was a piano at home. My first ‘official’ pianolessons came when I was about six  years old, piano lessons at the conservatory of Utrecht (NL). From then on I have had lessons from my father and private teachers at home. Mainly classical. But I also remember playing pop songs I knew or figuring out the chords of songs I heard on the radio. And at the same time I’ve always been creating my own melodies and chord progressions. I guess I’ve never really got to know the piano as only an instrument, but from the start also as a tool to compose music with… So for me the process of composing began at the same time I started playing piano.

What is your favourite piece of music for the piano?

Tricky question. There’s so many..  So, if it’s not to big of a problem, I’ll pick two!

The third piano concerto by Sergej Rachmaninov. If well played…and considering this is a very difficult piece that’s not an easy job..

And a composition called ‘Prism’ by Keith Jarrett. I truly love that song. The combination of melody and harmony is so beautiful in this piece.

Describe your musical style in 3 words.

Intuitive, Cinematic, romantic

Tell us your first memory of London.

When I was eighteen years old I did a city trip with my sister and my mother in London. My first memory is when we took a bus and my mother asked the bus driver: ‘How many points is it to take this bus?’ Me and my sister of course started laughing and we explained the bus driver she meant ‘pounds’, not ‘points’. 

What is one piece of classical music you couldn’t live without?

The requiem of Mozart.

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