Sydney – Tuesday 1 August, 2017. The Sydney Opera House will celebrate two titans of the piano when Dutch minimalist Joep Beving takes to the Utzon Room this October, followed by Ben Folds’ return to the Concert Hall in February 2018 for his Paper Aeroplane Request Tour.
Folds is no stranger to the Concert Hall, which he has sold out eight times, from performances with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to his very own brand of chamber pop with New York sextet yMusic, which The Sydney Morning Herald praised as “subtle, self-deprecating [and] always charming.”
For his ninth Concert Hall residency, the master of improvisation will return solo with all the hits, then take song requests from the audience via paper planes flown onto the stage. What initially started as a Twitter joke has become one of his most heartfelt – and tour-worthy – moments. “Taking paper aeroplane requests from fans is fun,” said Folds. “[It] gives everyone in the room a chance to request what they'd like to hear.”
In October, Dutch piano superstar and recent Deutsche Grammophon recruit Joep Beving will bring what he calls “simple music for complex emotions” to the Opera House’s most intimate performance space, the Utzon Room. Beving’s debut work Solipsism was a side-project recorded in the quiet moments as his family slept. He uploaded his work to Spotify as an experiment in 2015. Eighty-five million streams later, four record labels were fighting over the release of his second album Prehension before Beving signed to classical music’s most prestigious label . “[The record] beautifully flows on a wave of honesty and beauty,” Our Culture Mag said of Prehension, an introspective journey accompanied by a stirring short film. As the musical year gets going, Beving will bring the sell-out contemporary-classical star power the Opera House has championed across performances by Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter, Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm to the only Opera House performance space entirely designed by Jørn Utzon.
“It’s a joy to present in this magnificent setting two talented pianists whose audiences respond with such exuberance and appreciation,” said Ben Marshall, Head of Contemporary Music at Sydney Opera House. “The beauty and space in Joep Beving’s contemplative, atmospheric compositions have carved him out an impressive space in the modern musical landscape. In two years he’s become one of the world’s most listened to pianist and composers, something that can only be described as a phenomenon. The gorgeous 200-capacity Utzon Room may be the smallest room you ever see him play. Pop maverick Ben Folds has sold out the Opera House an impressive eight times in row and now brings his intimate Paper Aeroplane Request performance to the Concert Hall. His considerable narrative and compositional abilities get opened up to the audience in a unique and immediate way, with waves of paper aeroplanes flying onto the stage to create an improvised setlist on the spot. Get folding.”