Sunday, 11 October 2020 | 11:30 | 30CC/Schouwburg

Is American music anything besides just musicals, wacky Cage experiments and endlessly minimal music? Yes, so much more! If you’re not completely convinced, you must take a seat in the omnibus that Ralph van Raat is driving in this musical voyage across the American musical landscape: from Los Angeles to New York, from the old ragtime melodies to the very newest contemporary sounds. 

Particularly satisfying are the many little side streets that Van Raat takes that allow you to hear the awe-inspiring richness of American piano music. In the distance you can hear not only oceans and cotton fields, but snippets of Greece, Mexico and China as well – seen through American eyes of course. Contrast is guaranteed in this cleverly assembled potpourri. 

Play and seriousness, concrete and abstract, accessible and stubborn, old-fashioned and progressive: you’ll hear it all. You choose, you lose; and if you don’t choose, hopefully you’ll lose yourself.

"Is it the composer's fault that man has only ten fingers?" – Charles Ives (Essays Before A Sonata, 1920)


Jelly Roll Morton:  King Porter Stomp  (1905)
Charles Ives:  Three-Page Sonata  (ca. 1905)
Henry Cowell:  The Tides of Manaunaun  (1912)
Henry Cowell:  Aeolian  Harp  (1923)
Aaron Copland:  El Salón México  (1932-1936)
John Cage:  Music of Changes Book  I  (1951)
John Adams:  China Gates  (1977)
David Lang:  Bell  (for Ralph van Raat) (2015)
Elliott Carter:  Tri-Tribute  (2007-2008)
Heather Pinkham:  Song of Grace  (2016)
Frederic Rzewski:  Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues  (1979)



Ralph van Raat

For Ralph van Raat, there seem to be as many hours in a day as there are keys on a piano. This pianist keeps coming up with amazing programmes and shockingly good CDs, one after another. He’s made the music of the 20th and 21st centuries literally and figuratively his favourite ‘playground’, and he knows better than anyone else how to design the most fascinating course through it. There’s no better tour guide than this American omnibus.

Website Ralph van Raat


Bondgenotenlaan 21
3000 Leuven



Ladeuze, Ladeuzeplein 20


Lijnen 1–9 / 284–85 / 315–17 / 333–35 / 337 / 351–52 /358 / 370–74 /380 / 395
Halte Rector De Somer plein

Not on time?

Late-comers will not be admitted to the concert.