Music

My journey in music began with my father, who learned to play the piano in college. He took a piano class at National Taiwan University and played Chinese songs on the black keys. With that, he was able to accompany himself.

As soon as we moved to Okinawa, he bought a new Yamaha console (upright piano). My mother, sister, and I started taking lessons from the Japanese wife of my father’s colleague. I was eight.

Anne Ku, Okinawa

Anne Ku, Okinawa

Not long afterwards, I began performing in public — recitals at Camp Kuwae Music Academy, sightreading carols at a Christmas party at age twelve, accompanying choirs (school, church, and the Okinawa Choral Society) as a teenager, forming local bands as keyboardist, and eventually becoming chief organist at several churches on the American air base where I grew up.

My interest in composition materialized when my first American piano teacher, Ms Betsy Hermann, introduced me to music theory. To play solo when it was my turn, I learned to improvise as keyboardist in my high school’s stage band.

When I turned sixteen, I began giving private piano lessons, amounting to some twenty students in Okinawa before I left for college. In my freshman year at Duke, I volunteered as the rehearsal and orchestral pianist for the musical production “The Music Man.” I gave my senior recital of music by Debussy, Ravel, and a piano duet of Poulenc. I also played the piano for a senior flute recital – music of Schubert, Piston, and Messiaen. I studied under Randall Love at Duke and with Claude Frank in the Gina Bachauer masterclass. In my senior year, I was awarded the AJ Fletcher Music Scholarship.

Anne Ku, Duke University, Senior Recital April 10, 1986

While performing and composing always accompanied me wherever I went with whichever jobs that I took, I longed to really study music and get coaching on my composition. I pursued my dream in 2004 when I began full-time studies at Utrecht Conservatory in the Netherlands. In those four years, I studied composition under the late Henk Alkema, Caroline Ansink, and Jeroen D’Hoe and piano under Willy Müller van Doorn and Leon Bak.

After graduating in 2008, I formed duos with a French Horn player and a cellist, as well as experimented with various chamber music combinations with my piano guitar duo. We performed throughout the Netherlands, pretty villages only locals knew existed, and ventured abroad to London, Madrid, and eventually a five week tour across the USA in 2010.

Anne Ku, Funen Concerts, Amsterdam 2010

In late 2013, I won a grant for my proposal “Piano Ensemble for Part Time Students” to administer a project at University of Hawaii Maui College where I have been teaching since 2011. In late 2014, I won a grant for my proposal “Instrumental Ensemble: a sustainable learning community.”

For more information, please visit Concertblog, the Bekkers Piano Guitar Duo website and Monument House Concert Series which I co-founded.

Arrangements

Blog posts

Compositions

  • Full moon on Maui, piano solo, Maui 1999 (HTML)
  • Encounter (Ontmoeting) for violin and cello, November 2004 (Youtube)
  • Elegy for String Quintet, Royal College of Music, London, September 2008 (Youtube)
  • Elegy for Piano Solo, January 2008 (PDF)
  • Three on One, for 3 pianists, US premiere in Honolulu: 6 August 2008 (PDF)
  • Five on One, for 5 pianists, Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, Italy, July 2007 (HTML)
  • Adieu to a Piano, using all 88 keys of the piano to say goodbye to my Gerhard Adam grand piano in London, Utrecht 2005 (PDF) (MP3)
  • Opus 13, full of riddles, Utrecht 2005 (PDF) (MP3)
  • Toccata on an Elegy Theme, premiered by Elwin Hendrijanto, Utrecht, March 2005 (MP3)
  • Interval Scherzo, premiered by Elwin Hendrijanto, Utrecht, March 2005 (MP3)
  • Culture Shock! chamber opera for ensemble, solists, and choir, 2 June 2008
  • The Jetsetter, chamber opera for mezzo soprano, harpsichord, recorders, Baroque violin, and Baroque cello, Utrecht and Slovakia 2006 (PDF)
  • Patchwork Impromptu, for violin and guitar, Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, Italy, July 2006

Concert performances

Boston, Massachusetts

Maui, Hawaii

The Netherlands

London, Spain, Belgium, Phoenix, Houston, ….

Discography

Radio

Reviews – about Anne Ku’s work

Teaching

Theory

Ukulele

Video (also see blog posts)

Written work (articles, theses)

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