Tall, long-haired and equally long-bearded, 41-year-old Joep Beving isn’t your average viral sensation.
Thrust into the online spotlight almost overnight after uploading his first album Solipsism to Spotify, the Dutch piano composer is warm, affable and sincere in his passion. Despite his recent fame, he’s endearingly humble, expressing surprise at the size of the theatre. He requests that his audience refrain from clapping after each song, asking us instead to read his body language to cue for applause where appropriate. Almost crouched with his knees up against the keyboard, his body language suggests discomfort; however, any discomfort disappears as soon as he places his fingers on the piano keys.
Calming, soothing and evocative, Beving’s compositions somehow fill the room despite its impressive size. His contrastive use of dynamics is masterful. Quiet, delicately lilting melodies meet soaring crescendos, building ethereally cinematic, rich imagery. His work is similarly rich emotively; dedicated to his daughter, the eponymous inspiration, Sleeping Lotus is simultaneously full of excitement and fear, hope and hesitance.
Turning to engage with his audience between each song set, Beving punctuates his performance with brief explanations of his compositions. At times, it’s almost a two-in-one comedic and piano performance; he confides that he used to make electronic music, admitting that it was not particularly good, and his quips throughout the performance suggest his preference or least familiarity with the intimacy of a smaller audience.
Beving notes that his final song for the evening was responsible for launching his sudden popularity. Inspired by his friend and primary motivator who recently passed away in an untimely car accident, For Steven reminds Beving that life is short, and opportunities must be seized where possible. In turn, Beving reminds us that music can ascend, transform and unite; so much greater than entertainment, it is a universal language, and Beving has mastered all of its nuances.