October 13th-16th, 2023 in Houten, The Netherlands


The thought, “Music is a reflection of life” is omnipresent in the recitals of Marietta Petkova, and also in her teaching. “When the physical resistance melts away, it feels like a musical liberation; I’m starting to hear so much more…” recounts one student of their work with pianist and Feldenkrais teacher Alan Fraser. The Houten Piano Festival will allow all to learn from these two extraordinary musicians, and in addition, piano manufacturer Henk Hupkes will show you how he brings the soul of our beloved instrument to life, what exactly he hears.

This golden trio guarantees a long weekend of pianistic pleasure and musical inspiration.

The festival is open to piano teachers, conservatory students, and advanced skilled pianists both professional and amateur. All teaching sessions are open to the general audience. As a special attraction, audience members are offered the chance to actively engage in some of the activities: the lectures wil be interactive, and the Feldenkrais lessons offer participation for all. 

Physical awareness while making music, gaining more musical freedom and spontaneity, and knowledge of the instrument are the main themes of the festival.

On the musical menu you’ll find a varied range of lectures, workshops, masterclasses and, of course, a concert, as well as a special “Pianimals” lesson for children between the ages of 8 and 14. A lunch is provided every day at 13.00 for teachers, participants and the public – a chance to converse informally and learn even more.

I’m looking forward to a wonderful festival where development, exchange, and meeting each other are the main focus – far from the competitive side of musical life. Join us in October during the first edition of the Houten Piano Festival in The Netherlands! This brochure informs you what to expect, and if you have further questions, please contact us at info@renemaurer.nl.  You can also use this email to register. 


Rene Maurer, managing director


Friday October 13th Wijkcentrum/ Cultuurhuis Schoneveld
Feldenkrais-concert, Alan Fraser & Marietta Petkova
Festival opening: Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lesson (19.30); Concert (20.30) 

A pianist prepares the performance thoroughly, but how well is the audience prepared? Alan Fraser’s Feldenkrais lesson (ATM) gets the audience completely comfortable physically in their seats, and calms down the wandering mind, ready to receive what Marietta Petkova has to say musically.

October  14th, 15th & 16th, Theater Aan de Slinger

Group Lesson in Awareness Through Movement led by Alan Fraser 11.45-12.45. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) developed a large repertoire of movements that are usually executed lying down and with attention to the smallest details. Its starting point: work less with the muscles that move bones and more with the brain that operates those muscles. Training of the sensory-motor part of the brain by moving with the least amount of effort leads to a striking improvement in movement quality and ease. During the ATM session Alan Fraser will coach the group through a series of Feldenkrais-movements and clarify their effect on your piano playing. “If you do what you always did, you will get what you always got.” The improved sensation of a Feldenkrais lesson allows you to change old habits easily and effortlessly – to do something new.

Masterclass sessions with Alan Fraser or Marietta Petkova.The sessions will take place between 9.30 and 18.00 ( on Monday they will start at 10.00 a.m.)
These sessions of 40 minutes (for professionals) and 30 minutes (for amateurs) give you the opportunity to work with one or the other teacher on repertoire of your selection. These open sessions allow the audience to witness, enjoy, and learn from the collaboration. It’s possible to schedule extra lessons. 

Saturday October 14th, Theater Aan de Slinger

The Piano Inside-Out ,  14.00-15.00 & 15.15-16.15
Our instrument is built into a case. During this interactive lecture, piano manufacturer Henk Hupkes (who will be bringing a prime grand piano that was built in his atelier!) will reveal in great detail some of the secrets embedded in our beautiful instrument. Henk will also share some knowledge about the listening of piano tuners. Will the audience be able to experience what a seasoned piano tuner is hearing in the sound of an instrument? 

Pianimals session with Alan Fraser, 15.10-16.20
Workshop for children between 8 and 14 years old. 5 active participants.

In 2022 Alan Fraser launched “Pianimals”, his two-volume piano method for children.
The motto of the method is, “Everything you do, sounds”.  In this imaginative animal world, you won’t find any rigid advice about how you should play the piano, but rather, flexible physical strategies that develop the hand’s sense of its innate ability. From the beginning, teacher and pupil are invited to experiment with different ways of playing, each of which produces a different sound. Children participating in this workshop prepare one repertoire piece or part of it. Alan Fraser will invite the pupil to explore the music from a Pianimals point of view.

Sunday October 15th, Theater Aan de Slinger

Life-long learning, lecture by Marietta Petkova & Alan Fraser 14.00-15.15
This festival marks the first meeting between Marietta & Alan. The cross-fertilization between the pedagogical worlds of these two artists will turn the festival into a learning experience for them as well. This joint lecture will be about their own learning processes, their sources of inspiration, and about trial and error.

Monday October 16th, Theater Aan de Slinger

Laser coaching sessions with Alan Fraser, 14.00-15.00
Two sessions, 4 active participants per session.
Participants bring in that one passage that’s difficult to master and get 15 minutes
problem-solving laser coaching. 

Marietta Petkova’s practice diary, 16.30-17.30
Exploring a new piece of music is a very personal process. How do you start? During this lecture Marietta Petkova involves her audience in her musical journey of discovery. She will talk about musical dilemma’s and practice tactics.


Canadian pianist Alan Fraser is also a Feldenkrais practitioner and the author of several groundbreaking books on Piano Somatics, focusing on the relation between movement and sound. His Feldenkrais perspective allows him to zero in on the movement style of each pianist, improving the sense of hand structure and function to improve the music making. When the whole body is well-organized, free from “parasitic contractions,” the ear’s capacity to listen is enhanced, the whole self participates more fully in playing, and the pianist’s very soul finds deeper expression in the music. Fraser will bring the results of many decades of adventurous, Feldenkrais-based musicianship to share with Festival participants.

The Bulgarian born pianist Marietta Petkova brings a wide array of skills from her many decades of experience as concert pianist and pedagogue. Playing music in a recording studio with its editing possibilities is not a practice she endorses – thus her entire recording oeuvre consists exclusively of live performances. “Music is an art form that can only truly be experienced when performer and audience are connected”. Experiencing the elements of timing, suggestion, communication… expressing the inexplicable in a tangibly audible way…  These are just a handful of the subjects that Marrietta Petkova will address in her sessions. Marietta transforms teaching music into a musical collaborative experience.

Henk Hupkes’ love for the piano goes far beyond the technical aspects of the instrument. He has organized dozens of concerts and events, co-founded the association for piano technicians, as well as training new professionals, and working as a highly esteemed piano manufacturer and technician at home and abroad.
With a distinctly positive vision of life, Henk Hupkes knows how to connect musicians with each other and with their audience. It is no surprise that the mission of the Houten Piano Festival suits him perfectly.

Practice rooms are available during the festival.

Festival schedule

Click HERE to download.

Fees  (including VAT)

All fees for the festival and the different types of tickets can be found in the folder of this festival. Click HERE to download.


For questions and registration please contact René Maurer: info@renemaurer.nl/ 0031 62 409-5197