We had the good fortune of connecting with Steven Vanhauwaert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Steven, why did you pursue a creative career?
I get asked this question from time to time and I am never quite sure what the answer is. When I grew up, we had a piano and a lot of LP’s with classical music and I developed an admiration for music and the magic of the musicians playing it. I had good grades and could have also gone into engineering or physics, which were (and still are) intriguing to me, but there was something mysterious about deepening myself into music and see what I would find in that world. I could not resist the temptation and the challenge it presented. I suppose in many ways I had no idea what I was signing up for, I just followed my intuition.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My inner drive and goal was always to stay focused on becoming more and more ‘one’ with the piano and to deepen my understanding and love of music. I was well into my twenties before I started even noticing the aspect of ‘making a career’. Being a performing pianist is not always an easy path in the practical sense, but I remind myself daily what a privilege it is to be able to focus your life on music. I have been lucky, as life has handed me ample opportunities for concertizing and recording new albums; that has enabled me to fully focus on my passion projects. I also serve as artistic director for the Second-Sundays-at-Two recital series in the South Bay, and as co-director for the Chamber Music Unbound Festival in Mammoth Lakes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Los Angeles can be a tricky place to visit as it is so spread out; whenever I have friends visiting, I always take them to my favorite spots, such as the bluffs by Point Vicente Light house in Palos Verdes at sunset, the Venice Canals, as well as some of the lookout spots on Mulholland Drive at night. I love watching the city from afar. Los Angeles also has some incredibly exciting music series such as Piano Spheres, Jacaranda, Dilijan, and many more; if you haven’t been to one of their concerts, you’re really missing out…
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people, books, experiences, and travels that shaped who I am as a musician. Music in a way is all about communication and traditions, handed down from one generation to another generation; the entire music history consists of people taking what had come before them and continuing the transformation of it into something of their voice. As a youngster, I was (and still am) I big fan of imaginative pianists like Vladimir Horowitz, Radu Lupu, and Dinu Lipatti; I was also enamored with the writings of Jose Saramago and Graham Greene, both of whom had a very good eye (and pen) for observing people as well as a penchant for the absurdity of life. I also owe a lot to one of my first piano teachers, Hilda Dombrecht, who taught me a lot about focus and how to really listen to music.
Other: French Label, Editions Hortus: https://www.editionshortus.com/artiste_fiche.php?artiste_id=254&langue=en
Tammy Horton Paul Terrie