In the media - Gerard a musician through and through
30 November 2010
If Gerard Willems was reincarnated and could have another shot at life, he says he would still be a musician.
In an interview with the Illawarra Mercury, the Associate Professor in Piano at The Con, commented: "I think next time I'd be in a string quartet, a cellist or a conductor. I like the idea that you can cleanse and improve yourself every time you come around.
"I'd like to be less obsessed with the achievements of life. Winning ARIA Awards is nice, it helps with your inner contentment, but it's not the be all and end all.
"What's important are your relationships. I've got friends all over the world. My children and grandchildren are part of my inner most feelings of contentment.
"Looking back I'm pleased that my father migrated to Australia. Despite those early days in the camp, I feel now that I've had a good life here. A very fortunate life."
Gerard discloses that after mastering and recording Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas, which won him two ARIA Awards, a friend suggested he tackle Beethoven's 33 variations of Anton Diabelli's waltz.
So he bunkered down in his home for the whole of the Christmas holidays to learn the Variations.
"It's probably the most complex set of pieces that Beethoven ever wrote and the most difficult of the piano repertoire," says Willems. "There's great confusion around it. It's a mystery piece. No-one's ever heard it and I'd certainly never played it before.
"I had to learn it from scratch. It took me three months of solid work. I was fighting with this score. I say fight because that's what it was. No matter how many times I rehearsed, each time I played some of the pieces it was like playing them for the first time.
"Now they're all under my fingers."
The CD of the variations was released in October - the first for an Australian pianist.
Contact: Mick Le Moignan
Phone: 02 9351 1385