© Ronald Knapp
As a little girl, I used to walk with my mother through Naarden Vesting, on our way to the Turfpoortstraat, to visit my grandmother.
I can’t remember a lot from the visit to grandma, but I do still have vivid memories of the high curbs and buildings! The ‘Spaansche Huis’, the Andreas church! The former church was converted to a concert hall by the Robert F.W. Bruinsma Foundation.
So how did all this come about?
In my youth I listened to the Matthäus Passion in the Grand Church of Naarden many times. My parents were both involved in the organization of these beautiful performances by the Nederlandse Bachvereniging. During this time, the seeds for my development in and love for music were sown.
After I finished school, the work of both my husband and myself required us to spend a lot of time abroad. I even lived in France for 25 years. The music was relegated to the background, but it never really left my mind.
My husband died in 2005.
During that period, I started organizing piano concerts at our estate in France. It became a success! And it gave me the energy and the idea to continue it in the Netherlands, after I sold the property.
To lead the initiative in the right direction, we started the Robert F.W. Bruinsma Foundation. We bought the Andreas church at the Turfpoortstraat in Naarden Vesting to create a home base for our activities. After three years of renovation, we managed to convert the former church to a small-scale concert hall.
The main goal of our foundation is supporting young musicians, primarily piano students, on their path to the future.
In the beginning phase of the renovation I met pianist Nino Gvetadze. She was introduced to me by Jan Wijn, a renowned piano teacher in the Netherlands.
Nino and I had a few conversations, and it quickly became clear that our thoughts were well aligned when it came to music and youth.
Therefore, Nino explained her plan to me. An idea to bring young talent from the piano master’s degree of the conservatory into contact with people who are important for their career development.
This marked the starting point for the ‘Naarden International Piano Festival’.
We are both very proud that it came to this. You can have a dream, but you need to be willing to stick your neck out to make it come true.
Push forward, don’t hesitate, chase your goal!
Music brings people together!
We hope to connect students with master pianists!
Together with our producer Marco Meijdam and a small team of employees, we do everything we can to put this festival on the map for the future.
We hope to offer you a couple of days of beautiful music!
Hankie Bruinsma Verbrugh
Executive Director of the Festival
Director of the Robert F.W. Bruinsma Foundation.