My own website
It was about time: finally the "Mathias Piano Man " website ! Waoow :) A combination of music, news, photo gallery, links etc. Big upgrade, no more middle men, all the money goes to the artist (me!).
Before that and for the last 3 years, I was running on Facebook and Bandcamp which are great tools for communicating and sharing with people. But I found that over time, one needs to upgrade to more independence and freedom of creation. So here it is, my own website where I chose from A to Z the content, the layout, the structure, the style. I like this a lot better. From here, I am able to share my music my way. This also enables me to keep all benefits from your purchases. And I also will be able to put available physical CDs to be mailed and the music sheets of my compositions for all those who would love to play those songs for themselves.
July 18, 2013
Bid day ! I booked the studio of Marmalade Studio in Wellington in the North Island (on our travel to the North) for 12 hours in a row. So we went spend the day there with my partner, brought some lunch to keep us going. I played some 6 hours of recorded tracks and we spent 11 hours in the studio that day. We recorded the three first albums again as well as the fourth one.
It was a great experience for I had never recorded in a studio before, and it felt like a good upgrade to my little HZ2 recording device. I guess it's like one thing comes after another, starting small.
Recording 4 albums in 11 hours
July 29, 2012
3rd of December 2014
I have had the opportunity to play a concert in Wageningen, Holland. I never heard of this place before although it's close to Amsterdam. It's a little town moslty made out of students. I was invited to join on a regular gig organized mostly by students for students, which I was happy to do. But, when I was expecting a little place with little means as well as a little audience, I got surprised! It was my biggest sitting audience I ever played for. Now, it appeared to be a surprise for the event organisers as they were usually hosted between 50 and 70 people. But that day, more than 270 people showed up and they had to sit on the floor as the room wasn't meant to host that many.
Like I said during my gig, I was expecting a student's rough organization with a few folks attending. But in fact, it was a rather proper little event! Holland people don't do things roughly, in fact, they have this tradition of getting things done well.
Big thanks to Tim Luschen for getting me there that night.
It was originally a corporate picnic but it grew on its own accord and ended up huge, hosting thousands of people over a single day. Grass is laid out on the pavement in front of the Royal Palace in Bruxelles Royal Park, farm animals invade the place with straw bales, and everyone comes have a good time, while it's, as well, the day without cars in the capital. It's about food, music and entertainment: local farmers are invited to show their products, and, amongst other things, there are renewable energy stands, music shows and entertainment. And... there was a piano set up for me as the organizer Thierry Vandenbroek loves the idea of a open air piano (stripped of its jacket like I always do!). Check out Poseco, the non-profit organization he created to promote a positive economy. I did an interview of the man, available here. He explains his life path as well as the strategy he developped to change the world at his scale. Very interesting!
21st of September
Bruxelles champetre was originally a picnic in the park that became huge and that now hosts thousands of people over the day. It's all about local farmers, renewable energies, music and entertainment. A piano was set up for me that day :)
Play "Rakiura" while reading through
The main events
An intimate open air concert in the Royal Park of Bruxelles. Open air...hmm :)
Play "Through the love eyes"
The man's wedding
About a year later, 20.000 km further, I finally meet the photographer behind the National Geographic winner prize picture, Nikola Smernic.
My "first" concert
May 31st 2014
Before I flew to Europe, I gave Queenstown a little tune, more settled this time, in an actual room, on an actual grand piano. It was time to release my two new albums, have a good time, say "goodbye see you later".
It was actually my first official and organised concert (and hopefully not the last) as opposed to all the times I have played by the lake (as on the picture).
I had a beautiful time, the room was filled with peaceful music lovers and the atmosphere was...well, peaceful. It was very interesting as a first experience: playing by the lake as I usually do creates no pressure on me as for the performance and requires none or little preparation whereas the concert builds expectations and would require me to do no mistake, or at least as few as possible. Yet, I liked it. I really enjoyed to give some short comments and stories between the pieces. To speak. I explained a little about the titles, their hidden meaning, what inspired both piano pieces and titles, sometimes I would give more details about the inner and outer travels I was going through while composing such and such composition giving the context and a larger piece of the story from which the music came out of.
This concert was also the opportunity for me to release my two latest albums "Through the cycle" and "Many a story". And it was the first time I organized an event to accompany the release of an album, in this case, of two albums at a time. These two new albums have been enhanced, thanks to our nowadays technologies, with other classical instruments such as clarinet, violins, saxophone, etc. It allowed me to create strong orchestrations in some compositions, to make it sounds a lot deeper. In fact, I was going to call the fifth album "Orchestra style" at first, as it sounded a little like an orchestra.. I couldn't resist to give it a try, and it was so much fun to compose and create !
In the end, everyone has had a good time, me included. So...I will definately be looking into giving more concerts.
Play "If music could speak"
I will meet him!!
...and I will attend and play at his wedding in Split, Croatia.
This is Nikola (left), the man who took the photo that won the National Geography Traveler Contest in August 2013. The girl on the right is Jemma, from Nelson. The three of us met on the internet after the photo got famous. Nikola is amazing a man and sent us both a large frame of the picture, to keep as memory for older days :)
Since the winning of the photograph, we have been corresponding and it happens that we go along pretty well, thanking each other for such amazing events that happen for both of us since the award.
He and his partner happen to get married in July, and me and my family happen to be in Europe at that time. So we all got excited!!! We will go and finally meet them.
It's awesome to get the chance to meet Nikola and his partner, and to do this by attending and playing for their wedding ! How freecking cool ?!
June 2014 will see us in Belgium, July will have us in Croatia, yallaaaaa !!!!
March 29, 2014
Play "Under repair"
My TEDx Talk
March 23, 2014
I was called and invited for a drink one day by the organisers of the independently organised TED Talk (TEDx) of Queenstown, where I live and play piano by the lake. We had a bit of a chat that started like : " who are you?" and we ended up philosophing about life, education, work, passion, etc. They called me back saying: "You're an interesting man, you've got some ideas worth spreading. We would love you to give a talk at the TEDx Queenstown".
I was high: if there is one show I would want to be part of, it would be a TED talk! And before I knew, I was writting down all that I wanted to tell the world. I started with 10 pages of text, that took me 35 minutes to recite. But I was only allowed between 12 and 18 minutes. So I rewrote the whole thing from scratch, which was then 4 pages. And kept editing down from there to end up with this talk, of which I am very proud. It was a journey just to condense the whole thing in such a short time. And even more to overcome the fear of speaking before 200 people.
There it is: my vision of the world explained to you through my personal story. This is where Mathias Lefebvre meets Mathias Piano Man.
Thanks Cesar and Trent to give me this great opportunity. And thanks Emma for coaching me through it :) You guys rock !!!
A prize winner in National Geographic Travel Photo 2013 Contest.
August 7, 2013
Well for a surprise it was a good one. I got messages from fans and friends telling me: a picture of me playing piano by the lake in Queenstown was a merit winner in the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest of this year. The picture, taken by Nikola Smernic is pretty neat and features that little girl that came back several evenings in a row. Thanks Nikola for that gorgeous picture ! If there was one magazine that I would want to be featured in, that would just be the National Geographic !!!
Nikola's wedding in Croatia
July 17th 2014
There we are, this time both on the same picture The now famous photographer Nikola Smernic and I, standing side by side in Split, Croatia, the day of our arrival but also the day before Nikola's wedding. I had the honor to play at the ceremony and to attend their beautiful wedding. And I finally had the chance to meet the man behind the camera. An incredibly passionate photographer, but also a very welcoming host: he organized this all trip for my partner, our daughter and I when we had our mobilhome breakdown, which was how we originally intended to go to Croatia. And as Nikola's culture (or is it typically croatian?) wants it, everything is taken care of for us THE WHOLE TIME of our stay in Split !!! Needless to say, it was really nice, and enjoyable. We loved it. Thanks Nikola and Martina, it was a great wedding, a great time.
As Nikola puts it: "My oh my... The circle is full! I had my own wedding last Thursday on July 17th and this guy, the guy who was at my National Geographic Travel winning photo from Queenstown NZ, was playing at my wedding in Croatia! Thank you so much Mathias Piano Man, both Martina and I were so so happy and excited to have you here... Dream came true...For the people who don't know the whole story:
A grand piano concert
Intimate concert in Queenstown before my trip to Europe
I am going to meet the man
TEDx Queenstown 2014
Freedom of expression
A decent recording session
2016 South Island Concert Tour
In a nice setting, a concert.
The story that is going viral
By Nikola Smernic
How A National Geographic Award-Winning Picture Connected Us With Two Families
August 10th 2015
4 days ago by Nikola Smernic
Have you ever experienced a perfect moment that passed by so quickly and you wanted to go back so badly to do something about it but that wasn’t possible anymore? Everyone experiences that. My girlfriend Martina and I experienced one of those moments in Queenstown on our last day in New Zealand in 2013. And this very same moment turned our lives upside down.
I took this photo of the most amazing scene that we saw in New Zealand – a busking piano player and a little girl. The piano music was perfect, it was giving us chills. But we were in a rush and we left the scene so quickly without knowing this guy’s or girl’s name, not even buying the music. The greatest regret.
Few months later, completely unexpectedly, the photo that I took back there won one of 10 awards among 15500 photos in annual National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest (the one whose 2015 winners were just announced 2 days ago). What an unbelievable feeling! And what a craziness started right after that. The winners with their photos became huge news all over the world.
But that was not the top of the magic, not even close. Everything that happened right after that became the most amazing series of events, better than the award itself.
More info: nikolasmernic.com
This was the photo taken in Queenstown, which won 10 awards in National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2013
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Concert in 'La Gaume" in Belgium
A lovely evening meeting lovely people, another great opportunity to share my music.
June 16th 2015
I was coming to Belgium to attend a couple of birthdays, a wedding, and to sell our mobilhome we toured around Europe for 7 months the year before.
Caroline Gavroy, from Belgium, coincidentally visited my website, and saw of my plans to come to Belgium for 3 weeks. Out of pure spontaneity, she contacted me and, after figuring out I wasn't going to organise any concert myself, got to organise one herself ! She never had before, and she thought she was half dreaming, but in fact she did organise the concert, and I did come, did play, and we did have a drink until morning with her lovely family and friends! And we all had a great time!
It was remarquable. Story goes on as I shared this upcoming concert on facebook and a friend of mine from Japan, Satoshi, whom I had known in New Zealand and had left 3 years ago on his trip to Europe by bike, replied saying it just arrived in Belgium and he was going to attend my concert!
I couldn't believe it. Satoshi and I caught up in the most unexpected circumstances and went together, by train, to 'La Gaume', deep south east of Belgium, to play this concert. It was great to see him again, and we had a good time!
We met and stayed with Caroline and her family, who had organised everything for us. They were the most lovely people, so welcoming & enthusiastic. As she works in the field of self development, we had interesting talks about spontaneity, flow & enthusiasm, all major ingredients for a fear free type life, encouraging and leading us towards people, activities and places that are joyful and exciting.
Thanks Caroline and your folks for your warm welcome and giving me the opportunity to share my music once more! Your place, you guys, it all felt like home :)
Mathias, from Queenstown, August 10th 2015.
It all started with a single moment, a single regret and a single photo taken at the right moment. And now, thanks to it and that National Geographic award, we have two fantastic families from a different part of the planet in our life, we have the perfect business collaboration and the most fantastic travel photography experience one could ever imagine.
You can never know what’s waiting for you on your travels or what’s happening behind the photos you took. Jemma, we hope to meet you in person one day and go back to listen to Mathias at our magical spot!
Story by Nikola Smernic
New Zealand Newspapers
Back then those two were unknown people to me.
Few days after the announcement, I received a message that got me into tears.
The photo above was attached into this email. It was a mother writing in the name of her daughter – the little girl from my photo! That’s how we met Jemma. At that point we couldn’t believe all of that, we were bursting with happiness. Two of them were not related in any way and back then it was Jemma’s last day in Queenstown as well. All three families got so connected and started to exchange messages all the time.
I sent a big framed and signed photo to Mathias all the way to New Zealand
Then Mathias sent us his four original albums with his amazing piano instrumentals
We decided to buy the rights to use his music for our wedding photography business! We are now making beautiful wedding photography slideshows with his music and we deliver them to our couples! They are so thrilled with them and Mathias received some money to help him release his fifth album!
Not long after, my girlfriend and I decided to get married
It was from the piano player who’s in the photo. Mathias Piano Man. Our perfect New Zealand moment that was gone, was suddenly BACK! Right in front of us. We were endlessly happy. We even got the link to all of his music. No words can ever describe that feeling.
Few days after that, we received an email from the girl’s mother.
He took the photo with the frame at that very same spot.
I sent another one to Jemma who lives in Nelson, New Zealand
We started daydreaming about having Mathias playing his music on our wedding in Croatia. It seemed impossible cause New Zealand is so far away, so there wasn’t too much of hope. But Mathias gave us the greatest news: he was coming to Europe right around that time to visit his family!!! Is there an end to all of those coincidences?!
So we brought him to Croatia to play at our wedding!
It was the craziest feeling possible. There he was – this guy from the photo I took just a year before on completely different part of the world. Back then I didn’t know who he was, what’s his story, who’s his family… and now he was here, with his girlfriend and their daughter, playing this same perfect music at our wedding.
The only thing left to do is: go back to New Zealand and meet Jemma and her family
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2 April - Invercargill
4 April - Balclutha
7 April - Dunedin
8 April - Oamaru
9 April - Timaru
10 April - Geraldine
11 April - Akaroa
12 April - Christchurch
17 April - Nelson
16 April - Motueka
21 April - Greymouth
22 April - Hokitika
23 April - Franz Joseph
29 April - Queenstown