Hannes Minnaar

Performing on the 33rd season of the renowned piano series, Serie Meesterpianisten, 2019 in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw a review headlined his debut as Hannes Minnaar proves to belong at home among the Master Pianists” (NRC).

2020/21 sees Hannes Minnaar make his North American recital debut (San Jose Steinway Society) in which he features a new commission of fellow Dutch composer, Robert Zuidam. Together with works of Schumann and Ravel, “Nox” will also be included on his fourth solo disc released in Autumn 2020 (Challenge Classics).  This season also sees Minnaar make his UK recital debut at Nottingham Theatre Royal’s Sunday Piano Series. He is soloist with the Malaysian Philharmonic under the baton of Kees Bakels, the Residentie Orchestra with Anja Bihlmaier in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and he tours with the Flanders Symphony Orchestra and David Reiland. Dedicating time to working with young musicians and performing on education series Minnaar joins the ‘Personal Note’ series in the Concertgebouw and ‘Open je oren!’ (Open Your Ears) series for children in the Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam.

A regular guest of all the Dutch orchestras Minnaar has been soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (in 2020 under the baton of Valentin Uryupin) and the philharmonie zuidnederland. He has also recently been soloist with Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and Jan Willem de Vriend, Essen Philharmonic and Daniele Rustioni, Ulster Orchestra and Jac van Steen.

As the lockdown of the corona virus pandemic was released Hannes Minnaar initiated a 10-recital tour of Bach’s Goldberg Variations in many of Holland’s magnificent churches in July 2020. The programme also included a world premiere, “Gedanken zu Bach” by Daan Manneke. He also performed the chamber version of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with the Dudok Quartet for an “Empty Concertgebouw Session”. Amongst numerous concert cancellations the corona virus pandemic prevented collaborations with Netherlands Radio Philharmonic (under the baton of Hans Graf), with the Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands touring in Germany, Italy and Holland, and performances of Shostakovich solo works at the 2020 Gergiev Festival, Rotterdam. This multi-artform project based around Gogols Nevsky Prospekt, directed by Willem Bruls is postponed to the 2021 Gergiev Festival.  

Alongside the above mentioned conductors, Minnaar has worked with the late Jirí Belohlávek, Herbert Blomstedt, the late Frans Brüggen, Hans Graf, Pablo González, Antony Hermus, Eliahu Inbal, Faycal Karoui, Antonello Manacorda, Alondra de la Parra, Jamie Phillips, Ed Spanjaard, Markus Stenz, Otto Tausk, Edo de Waart and Xian Zhang.

Vitally important to Hannes’s musical raison d’être is his work with the Van Baerle Trio (founded with fellow colleagues Maria Milstein and Gideon den Herder in 2004). In 2020/21 the trio performs throughout Holland and returns to Paris for a concert in Théâtre de la Ville. The trio also returns to Casa da Música, Porto, performing the Beethoven Triple Concerto under the baton of Michael Sanderling. This repertoire is also the culmination of their recording of Beethoven‘s complete works for piano trio for Challenge Classics (2020).

Hannes Minnaar first gained attention as second prize winner of the Geneva International Music Competition, 2008, and third prize winner at the Queen Elisabeth Competition, 2010.  Performing in the finals under the baton of Marin Alsop, she commented of Minnaar as an “authentically gifted pianist”.  Early studies on the organ profoundly informed his performance inspiration, as well as the considerable influence from his teachers including Jan Wijn and Ferenc Rados and in masterclasses with Menahem Pressler.  Hannes Minnaar was made a Borletti Buitoni Trust Fellow in 2011. The Van Baerle Trio were Echo Rising Stars in 2013/14 season. 

Minnaar’s solo discography has received the highest accolades. His debut album of Ravel and Rachmaninov in 2012 won an Edison Award.  International Record Review claimed “this is indeed an astonishing debut”, International Piano Magazine suggested “simply sensational”.  Gramophone heaped praise of his second album, Bach Inspirations,  on to his first recording stating “After Minnaar’s debut disc, this makes two hits in a row”. His third album of Gabriel Fauré was again acclaimed by Gramophone “Minnaar’s identification with this unique realm of music is complete and his deeply felt interpretations shine with clarity and infinite nuance”.

Hannes Minnaar’s recording of the complete Beethoven Piano Concertos with the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jan Willem de Vriend, was a recommended recording on BBC Radio 3’s Building a Library by London Barbican’s Managing Director, Sir Nicholas Kenyon. Highlighting the recording of the ‘Emperor’ concerto he suggested “This has passion, drama, vital rhythms, transparency, and, more important: a total fusion between soloist and orchestra. It’s less a competition for power than a celebration of unity, with pianist and orchestra continually sparking off each other.”