SHAUN CHOO pays tribute to great piano pedagogue KARL-HEINZ KÄMMERLING

On 14 June 2012, the worldwide piano fraternity mourned the passing of one of the piano's greatest pedagogues of our time. Over the decades, Karl-Heinz Kämmerling has mentored and guided some of the world's most respected and exciting pianists. Young Singaporean Shaun Choo holds the distinction of being the first Singaporean admitted into the famed Salzburg Mozarteum and Kämmerling's only Singaporean student. Presently serving National Service, Shaun Choo pays tribute to his mentor and Maestro.

“Tribute to Prof. Karl-Heinz Kämmerling”
By Shaun Choo, 30-06-12

No amount of words can do justice to the man whose demise has left a hole in the hearts of all his students, friends, and fellow music lovers around the world. As his pupil for 5 years, Prof Karl-Heinz Kämmerling had guided and opened new realms into my understanding of classical music and had played a huge role in moulding me to what I have become today. Being the only privileged Singaporean to have the honor of working with him so extensively, I feel compelled to share my personal experiences of this esteemed Maestro.

I first got to know Prof Kämmerling during the summer of 2005. I was 15 then and had just attained my Diploma a year before and was looking to pursue my music studies abroad. My teacher in Singapore – Ms. Lena Ching – had suggested Europe as it is the heart of Classical arts culture, and home to countless legendary musicians over the centuries. I took several masterclasses, one of which was Prof Kämmerling's which was held at the Salzburg Mozarteum. It might have been merely a two-week course, but by the end of it, he left me with such a deep impression that I immediately expressed interest to enter his class. I was thrilled when he accepted me. Shortly after, I was enrolled in the Mozarteum under the “Young Talented Musicians Programme”.
Prof Kämmerling was a great musician in more ways than one. His substantial experience and knowledge of the arts – a result from more than 60 years of dedicating his life to music – distinguished him from the many teachers out there. Though we could not get lessons from him on a weekly basis (he simultaneously taught at three Universities in Austria, Germany and Croatia and was constantly sought after for masterclasses and as a juror in international competitions), his critical, methodical and superior teaching style more than compensated for anything else. Looking back, his occasional absence had taught me to be independent and self-reliant. Moreover, with his guidance and advice, I gradually built confidence in my own judgment.

Professor Kämmerling had a reputation as a strict and demanding teacher, but it stemmed from his care for his students; like a stern parent having constant high expectations from their children. Amusingly, wrong notes did not overly concern him, nor was he impressed by sheer technical virtuosity alone; both aspects were far from sufficient in making good music. It was the way one spoke through the music that mattered. This was accomplished with the mind as much as with the heart. “Your mind filters your emotions, converts them to signals which are then relayed to your servants, your hands, who in turn carry out the order” he used to say.

With his unquenchable thirst for musical knowledge and respect for each student's individualism, I often enjoyed good arguments and debates with him. He was always ready to listen to my opinions so as to better see things from my perspective. Rather than driving me along a linear path, he often compared records of as many different interpretations and analysed various editions during class to expose me to the infinite possibilities that exist out there. To him, ignorance was bad, and negligence, worse.

Prof Kämmerling was exuberant and youthful for someone in his eighties. He could climb flights of stairs or lift a grand piano's lid with ease, going often for swims and occasionally, even dancing with us! He possessed a keen sense of humor, and we had much laughter during our time together. Though bilingual, German being his mother tongue and English being his second language, he often blundered in the latter, with comical results. Once, when trying to translate a phrase “Du musst die tasten fuelen”, he ended up misinterpreting “tasten”, which is German for “key”, into “taste”, consequently saying “you must feel the taste”!

Though he has left this world, he had lived a full, eventful, and illustrious life doing the one thing he cherished most. He accomplished many things and because of him, 23 of his students hold professorships in renowned universities across the globe, with countless others establishing themselves as fully-fledged concert pianists. His legacy will live on through us, and I shall continue to do my best to make him proud.

Note: Kämmerling’s students over the years have included Bernd Goetzke, Lars Vogt, Wolfgang Manz, Herbert Schuch, Alice Sara Ott, Severin von Eckhardstein, Ragna Schirmer, Eckart Heiligers, Lisa Smirnova, Yu Kosuge, Alexej Gorlatch, Da Sol Kim, Claire Huangci and Gerhard Vielhaber, just to name a few.

The Rockaways and Rockaway Beach: The strange fortunes of New York's former resort oasis and amusement getaway

The entrance to Rockaways' Playland in the 1960s, one of the more nostalgic reminders of an era in the Rockaways gone by. (Image courtesy the blog Sand In Your Shoes)

PODCAST The Rockaways are a world unto its own, a former resort destination with miles of beach facing into the Atlantic Ocean, a collection of diverse neighborhoods and a truly quirky history.

Retaining a variant of its original Lenape name, the peninsula remained relatively peaceful in the early years of New York history, aland holding of the ancestral family of a famous upstate New York university.

The Marine Pavilion, a luxury spa-like lodging which arrived in 1833 featuring the new trend of 'sea bathing', opened up vast opportunities for recreation on the peninsula, and soon Rockaway Beach was dotted with dozens of hotels, thousands of daytrippers and a even a famous amusement park.

Not even the fiasco known as the Rockaway Beach Hotel could drive away those seeking recreation here, including a huge population of Irish immigrants who helped define the unique spirit of the Rockaways.

The 20th century brought Robert Moses and his usual brand of reinvention, setting up the Rockaways for an uncertain century of decreased tourism, urban blight and uncommon solutions to preserve its unique identity.

FEATURING: Pirate attacks, an inferno in Irishtown, the Cabaret de la Morte, and the legend of Hog Island, New York's very own Atlantis!

To get this week's episode, simply download it for FREE from iTunes or other podcasting services, subscribe to our RSS feed or get it straight from our satellite site.

Or listen to it here:
The Bowery Boys: Rockaway Beach

Next Week: Some books, additional resources, a couple more pictures and some more stories left out of this week's podcast.

A zoning map of the Jamaica Bay region from 1937, featuring the Rockaway peninsula. A few interesting things to note about this, including: 1) no Idlewild Airport at this time, but Floyd Bennett Field was still in operation, 2) Rockaway Beach Improvement, 3) Everything west of Jacob Riis Park is basically ignored. [source]

The Marine Pavilion, the first significant resort destination in the Rockaways, introduced the notion of sea bathing to New Yorkers and attracted famous writers and actors to this peaceful area. [Courtesy Rockaway Memories]


This is not an image from the Rockaways, but 'bathing machines' like these were most certainly used in the early days of Rockaway Beach.

A couple examples of hotels that once filled the peninsula during the late 19th century, early 20th century, the Woodburgh House (at top) from 1870, the Kuloff (at bottom) from 1903.

The boardwalk from 1903 in front of or near a section of Steeplechase Park, I believe, judging from the mini-railroad tracks along the side. [source]


Along Seaside Avenue, possibly depicting an area of 'Irishtown', in 1903, rebuilt after a devastating fire the decade previous.

The bungalows of Rockaway. (Courtesy Library of Congress)

The 1950s began a long era of difficulties for the Rockaways, but you wouldn't know it from this summertime Life Magazine photo from 1956. Click into the image to inspect some of the interesting and long-vanished shops and amusements along the boardwalk.

This almost-ghostly skeleton of a high-rise housing development never built stood for years as the residents of neighboring Breezy Point successfully fought to kill that project and other intrusive plans by the city in the late 1960s. Picture courtesy Arthur Tress/US National Archives.

The mysterious remains of old Fort Tilden, now part of the Gateway Recreation Area and completely taken over by nature. For many more pictures of this area, please visit our Facebook page and check out my photo album on the ruins of Fort Tilden.
The thrashing waves of Rockaway make for good surfing:

 And, what posting about the Rockaways would be complete without:

One of the best cities in the world

One place on earth that the Stylish Outlaws really like is New Orleans. Not only do we love their love for good music but we also love the charming little streets that are full of surprises. Here you have the most amazing vintage shops on earth and you can really find good garments there. Music and fashion really goes hand in hand and it is so easy to find good stuff in a city that inspires you more than anything else. 

Dress like the star that you are

Via FC

There is nothing like a beautiful look and we think that more people should pay attention to their appearance. Why? Because we all deserve to feel good. You should always be your own best friend and take care of yourself to the maximum. Cause, the most important relationship you have in your life is the one you have with yourself. Keep that in mind and dress like a star everyday. 

Event for La Redoute

Presskontakterna invited us for a Grab n' Run event at their office yesterday for La Redoute. We found so many cute garments to bring back home and we can't wait to wear them!

Things get a little bit crazy

I told you that we went to a hat party but the thing was that we didn't have any hats with us except for a few. What to do? We made our own ones on the way there. Some better than the others. I will show you all a closeup on the crazy hats later. Some were outrageously gorgeous. I think we have a business going on here. 

As for the rest of the party.. I have no words to describe it and I don't think that it is necessary. Just take a look at the pictures, I think they describe more than they should. What a damn royal night.

Stylish Outlaws on a mission

Yesterday the Stylish Outlaws made their way to Hotellet to have a couple of Martini Royals. It was a beautiful night out with gorgeous people that were enjoying each others company. This time we even had international company, Yvan Rodic, that made his was to Sweden to join the Stylish Outlaws. All the way to Sweden just for that reason, isn't it so Yvan? ;)

Well, we had a great start of a night and we really recommend you to visit Hotellet if you have the chance. More pictures from the evening is coming up in a few with the others that joined us later on. 

The evening then developed to night and we headed out for new adventures together and ended up at a hat-party.. We will show you later how the night ended with some crazy pictures.