Joep Beving has been one with the piano from an early age. He was forced to end his musical studies at the conservatory and instead continued at university to get a degree in public policy and public administration. However, his love for his instrument never perished. Where once his goal was to hit as many notes per minute as physically possible, his style of playing has changed over the years, searching for a particular aesthetic essence. His path was illuminated by a piano that Beving inherited from his grandmother when she passed away in 2009. This German instrument insisted on a more gentle touch and a gracious pace, which eventually led Beving to adapt to a more classical vocabulary to tell his story.
This story started to manifest itself relatively late in life, when in 2014 at age 38, he was forced to stay home from work and decided to answer the draw of his piano. In search of tranquility of mind and some form of essence, music started to present itself that he had never played before in his life. Minimal pieces that he later once described as ‘simple music for complex emotions’. Turned down by the only label he approached, Joep decided to self-release his debut album Solipsism in 2015.
The sound of his piano found its way to the ears of Deutsche Grammophon’s A&R manager Christian Badzura when visiting his favorite Bar in Berlin. This led to the signing of Beving to the world’s foremost classical label and consequently the release of equally successful sophomore album ‘Prehension’ in 2017, making Joep one of the most listened to living pianist in the world at that time.
He has attributed much of his music’s broad appeal to the stream of consciousness in which some of the pieces were conceived. Claiming that the music is already out there and that one has to ‘just’ create the circumstances for it to land. In 2018 he took this idea one step further with the release of ‘Conatus’ of which he said: “If you see music as a living organism then it is not unthinkable that it has its own innate inclination to continue to exist and enhance itself.” On Conatus, Beving sees compositions from his first two albums, travel through the minds of artists he admires (a.o. Suzanne Ciani, Collin Benders, Andrea Belfi) and result in new pieces of music adding new layers and dimensions which would serve as the upbeat to his next major solo project as would become apparent in April 2019.
As part of the art piece ‘Franchise Freedom’ by acclaimed artist duo Studio Drift, Joep travels to Burning Man at the end of 2018 to perform in the desert of Black Rock City in front of his largest audience to date. Inspired by the display of human creativity and inclusivity he returns home to finish his third solo album.
April 2019 sees the release of HENOSIS, Joep Beving’s closing chapter in a trilogy of albums – marking the end of an intensely personal four-year spiritual and philosophical exploration.
On HENOSIS the Dutch composer continues his minimalist and at times romantic style of writing, but this time explores new territories. It sets off where his sophomore album Prehension left us, the warm intimate sound of the Schimmel piano. With the help of producer Gijs van Klooster and through collaborations with Cappella Amsterdam, Echo Collective and Maarten Vos, Joep Beving opens up new musical worlds using orchestral and electronic sounds alongside the familiar piano.
His debut album ‘Solipsism’ investigates the self and how it is related to the other by trying to show we have a shared understanding of what it is to be human. For ‘Prehension’ Beving describes realizing he had zoomed out from the individual level to the level of the collective. HENOSIS is the last step, in which Beving’s destination is the vastness of the cosmos – that great, black void – in search of “ultimate reality and emptiness of the mind”. Asked about the album Joep says:
“I envisioned it as a journey into the cosmos, far away from the self where it had started. In search of what is fundamental in reality, beyond the immediate perceivable. Henosis means oneness or unity with the source of all that is. The outward journey reflects the inward journey, much as the build-up of our inner workings reflects that of the macro-cosmos. Once that idea starts to dawn on you, the level of connection deepens beyond imagination.
Everything is connected. Think about it. If you see the other as merely a physically alternate representation of yourself it will be very difficult not to feel some form of empathy. The same goes for any other life form. I realize it is not all that straightforward and I don’t want to postulate this as being the truth. However to me this realization has come closest to a somewhat hopeful and admirable version of it. It completes the circle that started with a growing sense of alienation from reality I dealt with at the time of Solipsism, to a growing sense of becoming one with it.”
In November 2019 Henosis was awarded with an Edison.