In March of 2013, Hannes Minnaar made his debut with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto under Herbert Blomstedt. This performance marked a new milestone in the career of the 28-year-old pianist. The invitation to perform in this concert was the result of the Third Prize won by Minnaar in 2010 at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. The following year, this prestigious award gained him a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, which made it possible, among other things, for him to produce his first CD. This CD, which included Rachmaninoff’s rarely played First Piano Sonata and Ravel’s ‘Miroirs’, was praised by reviewers and received an Edison award in the following year.
Minnaar’s talent had already attracted attention at the Amsterdam Conservatory, where he completed his studies summa cum laude under Jan Wijn. Soon afterwards he was invited to appear as a soloist with various orchestras. He worked with conductors including Marin Alsop, Frans Brüggen, and Edo de Waart. He appeared in recitals and was a guest at various festivals, many of them in France. For example, in 2013 Minnaar performed at the well-known piano festival in La Roque D’Anthéron, where all the most prominent members of the piano world make their appearance. Minnaar also performed at festivals in countries such as China and Bahrein. At the end of 2013 he will make his recital debut in Tokyo.
In 2008, when Minnaar made the decision to compete internationally, he took part in the Geneva Competition, where he was awarded a second prize. This was followed in 2010 by the Elisabeth Everts Prize and the award, as mentioned above, from the famous Brussels competition. It was particularly because of this latter award that the national and international spotlights began to focus on Minnaar. Reviewers praised the natural quality of his playing, his musical intelligence, feeling for structure, modesty, and his solid work ethic: “a winning combination”. “A young pianist of international standing has appeared,“ wrote Peter de Bruin, reviewer for the NRC, in 2010.