ivo janssen

Bach Cycle
Liner notes

music below decks


Anna Enquist



Janssenbeton, music below decks
In October 2009 pianist Ivo Janssen moved to a former ammunition barge in the centre of Amsterdam. From the very first visit to this houseboat, with its robust, seaworthy concrete hull and heavy oak structure, it was clear that this could be made into something special. When, after some debate with the authorities concerned, the fitting of sixteen port-holes was approved, and, furthermore, a design engineer confirmed that the rather massive concrete construction could be made considerably lighter, an adventurous idea took shape: a concert hall on the water, in the middle of the city.

Now, almost five years later, the day of the first concert rapidly approaches. In the past years a lot of renovating has been done on the whole of the ship, and in recent months mostly the part down below where the stage will be situated is being transformed drastically. Roughly six tons of rock-hard and heavily reinforced concrete was hacked away and removed in order to create a space of twelve by six meters, partly six meters in height, ready to hold an audience of a hundred. In the middle of Amsterdam, on a houseboat: Janssenbeton - music below decks .

In the first full Janssenbeton concert season pianist Ivo Janssen gave no less than 15 concerts in the concert hall that he built on his houseboat in the centre of Amsterdam. Over a thousand visitors came on board of the characteristic concrete barge.

Still renovation is continuing - and it will be for a while - but in the ongoing second season several highlights are programmed again. With emphasis on J.S. Bach’s keyboard works, as to be expected, but also with music by Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schostakovich, Ten Holt and others. Programs of over an hour each month, usually sunday afternoons at 16u. Tickets are €20, including a drink after the concert.
Meanwhile Ivo Janssen steadily continues on finishing the hall, which makes a frequent visit to this unique location all the more worth wile.