Bastiaan van Beek, born in 1991 in the Netherlands, studied music performance at ROC Eindhoven, classical and jazz guitar at the conservatory in Tilburg, and social work at social work at Karel de Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp. He played music since he was about 8 years old, and has played and recorded with bands since 2007. His activity with composition began around 2017, with influences ranging from Satie and Rachmaninov, to Pink Floyd and Tool. He mainly writes for for piano, and sometimes for string quartet, and orchestra. The music is very much contemporary, with hints to the past eras of classical music. Experimental as well, with the attempt to implement coincidence as a compositional method. Some structures in the music are unpredictable, but there is always a larger line of clarity.
What does music mean to you personally?
It means intellectual, emotional and imaginary expression. It also connects people. For me, music is one of the greatest art forms.
Do you agree that music is all about fantasy?
For me, music is partly fantasy, partly just physical activity, partly psychological acitivity, easthetics, therapeutic, intersubjectivity, and therefore social.
If you were not a professional musician, what would you have been?
I actually am not a professional musician. I write, I compose, I teach.
The classical music audience is getting old, are you worried about the future?
In the Netherlands, where I live, there is a wide audience for classical music. Young, old an in between. As long as the worldwide classical music community is strongly connected, and is integrated in intellectual, cultural, and economic domains in society, it is ok. I am not worried about the future, because we do not know the future.
What do you envision the role of music to be in the 21st century? Do you see that there is a transformation of this role?
Music in the 21st century has been about mixture and creating new forms. The most evident example is how jazz and classical music has been transformed to a new form, where it is more about creating texture, mood, abstract structure, soundscape, and impression.
Do you think that the musician today needs to be more creative? What is the role of creativity in the musical process for you?
I think that creativity is a problem in current times, since there is too much distraction from smartphones and media. There must be a healthy balance between the use of technology and media, and finding room for creativity. Another problem is that there already has been done a lot in music. It gets harder to do something new. At least, what I find important is that doing something new just because it's new, is not valuable. The „new" must contribute something to what already exists, and must have value.
Do you think we as musicians can do something to attract the younger generation to music concerts? How would you do this?
I have no idea. This is a very complex issue. and in the past it happened through cultural dominance, but now we live in times where many people are free to follow their interest, so it becomes more fluid.
Tell us about your creative process. What is your favorite piece (written by you) and how did you start working on it?
I am currently working on a modern sonata. I wanted to restrain myself to a sort of form. First I thought it would be too cliché to start a sonata form, but at least as practise material it would give experience in following form. Later I came to the point to experiment with the sonata form, by the example of Philip Glass, Claude Debussy, and Sergei Rachmaninov.
Can you give some advice for young people who want to discover classical music for themselves?
First find classical music that is more related to your other musical taste. If you like progressive rock, then start listening to Shostakovich. If you like pop music, then start listening pop music that is in collaboration with classical musicians. Also, film music is often very effective because the majority of people are consumers of film. Eventually, it all comes down to overlap in interest.
Do you think about the audience when composing?
Partly. Sometimes I just do what I prefer. Later I might be critically approached by my composition teachers. Which I like. And at other moments I think „What am I doing? Does goes against all general principles of music.“
What projects are coming up? Do you experiment in your projects?
I am in the process of publishing 10 preludes through a major publisher in Belgium. I also have some of my works performed and recorded by professional musicians. No (further) big projects. I am easily satisfied.
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