Anny Coronel-Plesman

Painting of Anny Coronel-Plesman by M. Garady


Anny Coronel-Plesman studied at the conservatorium of ''Het Muzieklyceum'' in Amsterdam. Her teachers included Kees van Baaren, Luctor Ponse and Karel Hilsum. In 1977, having taught music at the Berlage School Community and the Vossius Gymnasium, where she produced several operas (including J.J.Rousseau's Le Devin du Village), she was admitted to the Masterclass of the internationally renowned pedagogue Peter Feuchtwanger, who advised her to devote more time to giving concerts. She did so successfully, giving recitals in London, Manchester, Taipei (Taiwan), Deiá (Mallorca), Agay (Southern France) and, in 1986 and 1994, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. In 1994, her compact disc recording of works by François Couperin (1668-1736) received positive reactions. Since 1995 she has formed a duo with the cellist Els Knaven, with whom she has given concerts in Amsterdam, Amersfoort and Eindhoven as well as Caracas and Maracaiba (Venezuela).

For many years Anny Coronel chaired the Amsterdam Chapter of the Royal Dutch Musicians Association (KNTV), in which capacity she initiated and organised the Lunchtime Concerts in South Amsterdam. Despite being attended by many loyal listeners, these concerts have unfortunately had to be discontinued, as a consequence of the arts funding cuts in 2012.

Her article ''A Mini-Piano'', published in various professional journals, created a stir in the piano teaching world and, as a result, she is hopeful that in the interests of very young children this instrument will actually be built. The need for such a ''mini-piano'' was the focus of an investigation. The results of that investigation are available.

Anny Coronel's extensive repertoire ranges from the keyboard works of Henry Purcell (1650-1695) up to and including compositions by Galina Ustvolskaya (b.1919) and Peter Feuchtwanger (b.1939).

Royal Honour
On 18 March 2013 Her Royal Highness Queen Beatrix appointed Anny Coronel-Plesman a Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. She received this honour from the Mayor of Amsterdam Eberhard Van der Laan in the Grote Zaal of the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam on Friday 26 April 2013. After the ceremony there was a festive gathering of family members, students and former students in the Pushkin Hall of the Hermitage to celebrate the memorable occasion.

Beurs van Berlage 26 april 2013

Met oud-leerling Albert Brussee


'Feuilles d'avis de Vevey' (Zwitserland) 30 September 1977:
"Nous avons pu entendre A. Coronel dans deux intermezzi de l'opus 116 de Brahms. Pages sereines interprétées avec une grande sensibilité par l'artiste hollandaise".

Peter Feuchtwanger, May 1987:
"Anny Coronel is a most sensitive musician. I have seldom heard anyone play a more beautiful and profound "Arioso dolente" in Beethoven's Sonata opus 110. It was a most moving occasion".

Karel Hilsum, May 1987:
In addition to her inspiring activities as a gifted teacher, she has gradually developed into an excellent artist”.

Nieuwsblad van Noord-Oost Friesland, 29 November 1989:
Her interpretation of Frederic Chopin’s Sonata in B flat minor, with the famous Marche Funèbre, was especially interesting”.

Joost Nannen, 22 June 2000, Kerk Christus' Geboorte Amsterdam:
It was a joy to hear her play the piano. With her love of music she showed us her youthfulness, experience and flexibility. Her audience witnessed a splendid and subtle performance of wonderful, highly demanding music.

22 May 2004, an observation by Frans Schreuder, former head of the piano department and teacher of piano methodology at Rotterdam’s music school and conservatory respectively: “On 22 May of this year I attended a concert given by the pupils of piano teacher Anny Coronel-Plesman. I was struck by the variety of the programme, which clearly reflected the various levels and possibilities of the performers: young and older, beginners as well as professional pupils. The expression was always there, as well as a well-developed sound. The afternoon concert took place in a relaxed atmosphere because no one had to over-reach (which is something that often happens, with sad consequences). I wish Anny Coronel had been my teacher when I was young!

CD reviews

October 2006, Hans Goddijn in "Piano World":
In musical circles, particularly among older piano enthusiasts, Anny Coronel-Plesman is a well-known pianist and outstanding pedagogue. It was at the encouragement of Peter Feuchtwanger in particular, who greatly admired her musicality and with whom she had masterclasses, that in the nineteen eighties and nineties Anny Coronel devoted her energies to giving concerts and recitals both at home and abroad.
One such recital took place on 29 September 1990 in the Recital Hall of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. The recording made of it was stored away, however, only appearing by coincidence last year. It turned out to be so successful that it was recorded on compact disc. And rightly so, because on it this musical lady immediately captivates the listener.
She begins with three Scarlatti sonatas (K 534, K 24 and K 490), which she plays with great sensitivity and an almost uncanny sense of timing. And the Steinway grand does full justice to these three pieces. The same goes for J.C. Bach’s Sonata in A major op. XVIII no. 5. Moving away from the Baroque, Mrs Coronel then plays Beethoven’s ‘Five Variations on Rule Britannia’. The interval is followed by music of Alkan, with three pieces from Esquisses op. 63: Le Legatissimo in D major, Le Staccatissimo in F minor and Confidence in A flat major. Although this music is quite different and highly romantic, the pianist nevertheless embraces the style flawlessly and her musicality is in full bloom. New to me is Feuchtwanger’s Tariqa I (‘Study no. 4 in Eastern idiom’), although it unfortunately does little for me. The programme ends with Debussy’s Ce qu’a vu le vent d’ouest, La puerta del vino and Feux d’artifice. These provide great enjoyment, the performance itself contributing in no small measure! Experience it yourself, particularly the wonderful Baroque interpretations and also the encore Aragonesa by Manuel de Falla.

Jan Marisse Huizing in PIANOBULLETIN 2008/2 (EPTA Nederland)
Anny Coronel-Plesman, piano

At a time in life when most pianists would only listen to CDs, 85-year-old Anny Coronel-Plesman sat once again at the piano in the Recital Hall of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw to succesfully record one. A notable CD focusing – after her recording ten years ago of music by Couperin – on Russian music. Anny Coronel is typically not one to follow the trodden path, instead keeping an eye open for new discoveries. The clear naturalness of her pianism can be heard in all of the works she plays, but is especially effective in her performance of the twelve Preludes by Galina Ustvolskaya, who died in 2006. The character of each Prelude is beautifully delineated – at times playful and dance-like, then somber, dark and solemn – with Anny Coronel achieving great expressiveness with but a few notes. The recording of the piano, too, which is rather direct, is very suitable here. In the Moment Musical by Rachmaninov one could wish for a more spacious acoustic, something that would have worked well with the romantic atmosphere of this piece. The largest work on the CD is the Sonata in B-flat by Mili Balakirev. Though not so demanding a piece as his Islamey, it is nonetheless very challenging. Anny Coronel still seems to have an excellent technique at her command, as can be heard for example in her vigorous chord-playing in the Finale. That she succeeds in bringing structure to this somewhat fragmented composition is no small achievement. She concludes the CD with a Romance by Anton Rubinstein, transporting the listener to a Saint Petersburg salon in which this “Grande Dame” sits at the piano and surprises her attentive guests with her playing.

Hans Goddijn in PIANOWERLD, 2008/11
Grand old lady Anny Coronel-Plesman
Rachmaninov, Balakirev, Ustvolskaya, Rubinstein
Anny Coronel, piano
At an age when most people would be enjoying a well-earned rest, Anny Coronel-Plesman sat down at the piano in the Recital Hall at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and made a new CD. It presents music by Russian composers, of which the Sonata in B-flat by Mily Alekseyevich Balakirev (1837-1910) and the twelve preludes by Galina Ustvolskaya (1919-2006) form the main part.
How admirably Anny Coronel-Plesman gives form to these relatively “modern” works. You are held breathless, listening to this interesting music that places high demands on the pianist. You realize that Mrs. Coronel-Plesman still has a technical command that many younger pianists would be jealous of. In fact, Mrs. Coronel-Plesman should still be a regular performer on the concert stage. Aside from the pieces by Balakirev and Ustvolskaya, she plays the Moment Musical in B-flat minor, opus 16 no. 1, by Rachmaninov, and she concludes with the Romance in E-flat major, opus 44 no. 1, by Anton Rubinstein – a beautiful and worthy encore. The quality of the recording (of the splendid Steinway grand piano) is excellent, though relatively direct. But that gives the impression that Anny Coronel-Plesman is sitting in your living room. And what a delight it is to have her as a visitor.
Hans Goddijn


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