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Graham WalkerThis is the website of Graham Walker, Dorset, UK who has had an interest in the early piano for over 30 years. He has undertaken the restoration of instruments for private collection and has also carried out research on early pianos and their makers over this period. This has been done alongside a career in management consultancy and performance management. Early retirement in 2007 enabled him to become more involved and he commissioned a cloth manufacturer to produce an authentic keyboard cloth. This cloth is the nearest match to an early 19th century piano cloth that can be made within modern manufacturing processes. It was initially produced for his requirements but it soon came in demand by others.  Further types of cloth have been replicated by request from makers and restorers.  These cloths can be purchased from the online shop on this website.  He has also undertaken some research into the leather used in early English pianos and is currently working in liaison with the Institute of Creative Leather Technology, Northampton University, UK with the objective of determining specifications. He is involved in supporting interest in the early piano and is passionate about ensuring that our heritage of early pianos collections in the UK can be maintained for the future.

Second International Square Piano Competition

Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

5 and 6 October 2012

Information for participants

 Preliminary round requirements: -A Program of at least 30 minutes which includes:

1.A sonata from Opus 5 or Opus 17 of Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)

2. At least two pieces on two different square pianos representative of repertoire from:  The early period (ca. 1760-1785), The middle period (ca 1790- ca 1815), The late middle period (ca 1815-ca 1835)  When playing a sonata, at least two movements must be included.

Participants are free to choose their instruments.


Final round requirements: The final round will be held on Saturday, October 6, 2012. Two or three finalists will be chosen from the preliminary round.  A Program of at least 45 minutes which includes:

1. A whole sonata of a composer from one of the above mentioned periods[1]

2.Piano Trio in G Minor No. 33, Hob. XV/19 for keyboard, violin and violoncello (circa 1790) by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809).[2]

The Instruments

1.Buntebart & Sievers, London 1789. FF-f’’’. 5 octaves. Single action, horizontal dampers, buff, lid swell by pedal.

2.Roduwart, à Paris 1798. FF-f’’’. 5 octaves Single action, horizontal dampers. Buff.

3.Broadwood, London 1803. FF-c’’’’ 5 ½ octave. Single action, brass under dampers.

4.Broadwood, 1821.  FF-c’’’’. 5 ½ octave. Double action.

5.Broadwood, 1822. FF-c’’’’. 5 ½ octave. Double action. Is in fact model 1805-1810.

6.Broadwood, 1829. FF-f’’’’ 6 octave. Double action.

7.Joannes Baptist Duwaer, Amsterdam, 1835. FF-f’’’’. 6 octave. Double action.

-Please note that the competitors will be free to choose their instruments.


Prizes: There will be a first, second and third prize.  The Organizing Committee will announce the amount for each prize in September 2012. Part of the first prize will be a recital at the annual meeting of Friends of Square Pianos at Finchocks, Kent (UK), May 10 to 12, 2013.


Jury Members

-Willem Brons (The Netherlands)

-Stanley Hoogland (The Netherlands)

-Kaoru Iwamura (Japan/The Netherlands)

-Michael Tsalka (Israel/Sweden)

Application Requirements: Participants must be younger than 30 years-old. Competitors must send to the secretary of the Organizing Committee a file or files in free text format, Microsoft Word format (.doc) or Adobe Acrobat format (.pdf) containing the following information:   1) Curriculum vitae (maximum 30 lines).The CV must include musical education.   2)  A headshot (jpg format).  3) Scan of identity card or passport (in jpg or pdf format).

Please email Prof. Dr. O. S. Van Hees, secretary of the Organizing Committee of the Second International Square Piano Competition:   For additional questions about the competition please telephone  +31703452510 or +31654757052 or email   For further information about the venue, please visit   For more information concerning the competition see also the website


Competition Venue – Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen  Huis,  Keizersgracht 633, 1017 DS Amsterdam,  The Netherlands

Partners: Amsterdam Conservatorium;  Royal Conservatorium The Hague;  Finchcocks Museum for Musical Instruments (Kent, UK);  Nordic Historical Keyboard Festival (Kuopio, Finland);  Boston Early Music Festival (Boston, Mass., USA);  Friends of Square Pianos;  John Broadwood and Sons Ltd, Est. 1728, Pianoforte Makers

The Organizing Committee is most grateful to Prof. Dr. Bart van Oort, Dept. of Early Music, Pianoforte, Royal Conservatorium The Hague, The Netherlands, for his suggestions concerning the competition’s program.

The Secretary of the Organizing Committee of the Second International Square Piano Competition, EmProf. Dr. O.S. van Hees, Conservator of Historical Keyboards, Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Amsterdam.

 About the Jury Members

Stanley Hoogland  Stanley Hoogland studied piano and theory of music at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where Jaap Spaanderman was his main teacher. He continued his studies in London with Maria Curcio and in Bloomington (USA) with Menachem Pressler.  He was one of the first to apply himself to the fortepiano, which already in the early seventies resulted in a number of recordings, cooperating with such artists as Anner Bylsma, Vera Beths and Frans Vester. Stanley Hoogland is taking part in many ensembles, like The Amsterdam Fortepiano Trio and as a soloist he has appeared with for example the Orchestra of the 18th Century. He has been invited to play at festivals all over the world. For recordings and concerts he often uses historic instruments of his own collection and as a player of the modern piano, he does not limit himself to any fixed period in music history. Stanley Hoogland is a teacher at the Royal Conservatory of Music at The Hague and the Conservatory of Amsterdam, fortepiano being his main subject.

Personal statement to the competitors: Welcome to the competition. This competition is unlike most other competitions. Here you cannot show dazzling virtuosity or speed, neither power or endurance.The main ability you have to show is the maximumcapability to adapt yourself to the possibilities and in many eyes limits of the instruments.You cannot play very loud or soft so you will have to show how much you can do with understanding the character and special sound qualities of the particular square piano you happen to have under your fingers. To guess and try to realize how these instruments might have sounded when they were played by musical performers in their homes is the object I wish you much pleasure during this adventure . Good luck!


Michael Tsalka

Michael Tsalka has won prizes and awards in Rome, Bayreuth, Bonn, Paris, Genoa, Calabria, Sardinia, Tel-Aviv, Chicago, Minneapolis, Berlin, Mexico City, and Philadelphia. He performs solo and chamber music repertoire from early Baroque to Contemporary on the modern piano, harpsichord, fortepiano, clavichord, square piano and positive organ. Tsalka has performed throughout Europe, the U.S.A., Canada, Israel, Asia, Russia, and Latin America. Recent engagements include the Bellas Artes Theater in Mexico City, the Boston Early Music Festival, the Filharmonika Orchestra in Manila, the Forbidden City Hall in Beijing, the Early Keyboard Series in Buenos Aires, the Hermitage Festival in St. Petersburg, the Hong Kong, Israeli, and Chicago radio, and Festival Saint-Denis in Paris. 2013 engagements include concert tours in Europe, Asia, and New Zealand. Tsalka was born in Tel-Aviv. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from Tel-Aviv University, he continued studies in Germany and Italy. In 2001, he received a diploma from the Scuola Superiore Internazionale del Trio di Trieste. From 2002 to 2008, he studied at Temple University with Joyce Lindorff, Lambert Orkis, and Harvey Wedeen. Tsalka holds three degrees from Temple: a master’s degree in chamber music/accompanying, a master’s degree in harpsichord performance and a doctorate in piano performance. He is recording D. G. Türk’s 48 keyboard sonatas for NAXOS, and working on a critical edition for Artaria Editions in New Zealand. In 2013, he will record three CDs for the Viennese label Paladino with repertoire by J. S. Bach and Viktor Ullmann, and a CD at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Tsalka was the artistic director of a Bach Cycle in China (2011). He teaches at Lilla Akademien in Stockholm and is a visiting Professor at Celaya Conservatory in Guanajuato, Mexico.

Personal statement to the competitors: It is difficult to believe that the square piano, by far the most beloved of keyboards throughout the late eighteenth century and nineteenth century, has until recently been so neglected by the musical community. The surprising variety in these magnificent instruments brings back to life with great eloquence the intimacy, brilliancy and variety of the repertoire of this era. I will be delighted to welcome you to the Second Square Piano Competition and Festival at the beautiful Geelvinck Museum, to further explore the rich possibilities of the square piano and other historical keyboards.

Willem Brons

Willem Brons made his  debute in 1969 at the “Kleine Zaal” of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam  and got appraising critics in all newspapers. He performed requently with all Dutch orchestras as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Residentie Orkest (The Hague Philharmonic) , and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, and abroad with the London Philharmonic with Bernard Haitink, l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and many others, among them Japanese Orchestras. Willem Brons gave numerous recitals in the big musical centra like London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, Moscow and Berlin. Since 1982 Willem Brons is a welcome guest in Japan and in Russia. Willem Brons has an outspoken affinity with Bach, Mozart, Schubert and the later Beethoven, but also the romantic repertoire he has in his pocket. In recent years with great enthousiasm he has dedicated himself to performing on historical keyboard instruments, among others the Viennese pianoforte. As a teacher he is attached to the Conservatorium of Amsterdam in the topics of piano, chambermusic and “Das Lied”. For a long time he has is own masterclasses, wich are held in great esteem. Since 2001 .he participates in the International Summer-Academy for Young Artists at the “Bayerischen Musikakademie” at Marktoberdorf, Germany.

Personal statement to the competitors: A competition around the square piano is something special. I wholehearty hope that this special happening will reveal the beauty and the richness of the sound of theze instruments will be experienced by both the professional musicians and the audience.


Kaoru Iwamura

The Japanese fortepianist Kaoru Iwamura can regularly be heard in solo and ensemble recitals both at home in the Netherlands and abroad, such as in Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Japan. Often performing at musical instrument museums. (e.o. Fenton House in London, Finchcocks Musical Museum in Kent, St. Cecilia Hall in Edinburgh, Geelvinck Hinlopen huis in Amsterdam, M. Haydn Museum in Salzburg, and Hamamatsu in Japan). In 2008 she was featured in a live broadcast at the Dutch AVRO radio 4 network, playing from the Spiegelzaal at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As a fortepiano teacher, she was invited for a “piano-day” of masterclasses for amateur pianists Utrecht November 2007. In autumn 2009, she was invited as a programmer and player during the three days of the Pianoforte Festival in the Honig Breethuis in Zaandijk, The Netherlands. In 2010 Kaoru became a board member at the Sweelinck Collection which is a unique fortepiano collection in Amsterdam. In 2011, she was a jury member for the ‘Amsterdam Virtuosi’ Square piano competition in Amsterdam. Kaoru studied piano at the Musashino Academy of Music in Tokyo (obtaining her Master’s degree in 1995), fortepiano with Stanley Hoogland at the Royal Conservatory The Hague, and at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where she graduated in 2003. Kaoru also studied at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as an exchange student. In 2006, Kaoru received the Muzio Clementi Award at the Finchcocks Musical Museum in Kent, England, in recognition of her dedication to the study and promotion of early keyboard instruments, and following her skilled performance on ten different keyboard instruments built between 1668 and 1866.

Personal statement to the competitors: Each square piano has its own beautiful nature. I hope you will enjoy finding it!


The square pianoforte, a short introduction

In 2011 the first competition for square pianoforte ever was held at the Museum Geelvinck Hinlopen Huis Amsterdam with the title “Amsterdam Virtuosi”. For a wider audience this was a meeting with the phenomenon of the square piano and with the important cultural and emancipating role this instrument had in the musical and social life of the well to do citizens. In the course of time this role was taken over by the cottage piano (or buffet-piano), still the most present musical instrument in the homes of people.

As a smaller-size-alternative for the bigger pianoforte (the ‘grand’), the period the square existed in spans about a 100 years, from about 1766 with the first square piano built by Zumpe in London till 1866, when the last square piano in England was built by Broadwood.

The friendship between Zumpe and Johann Christian Bach (the Londoner Bach) resulted in 1768 in the first ever recital on square piano. After that event the square piano became the craze of the day (and the era) and production soared.

Unknown to most people is the fact that the Dutch Republic, and in particular Amsterdam, was an important centre of production of high quality pianoforte pianos and especially square pianos.

The majority of the square pianos was equipped with the so called English action. Pianofortes on the Continent were mostly equipped with the Viennese action, but in contrast with the grands, on the Continent the squares were made with the English action too. Not only the art of playing of the instruments differ, but also the music written for English action differs from pianomusic for Viennese action. See for instance the difference between the last sonates Haydn wrote before his English adventure and his consecutive London Sonatas.

As a consequence the organization of the 2nd square piano competition has chosen a repertoire that evolves around the English action. The participants of this second competition face two challenges:

1.They have to play on English action instead of Viennese action.

2.They have to play on an instrument with a considerable less power and more intimate sound.

It will be a special experience for the participants!

[1] Because of time constrictions, the jury can decide to shorten a performance.

[2] String players will be provided by Bart van Oort, Dept. of Early Music, Royal Conservatorium, The Hague.


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