646. Curaçao’s Chopin: Wim Statius Muller

Statius Muller and filmmaker Alaric Smeets, promoting 'Nostalgia'.

Statius Muller and filmmaker Alaric Smeets, promoting ‘Nostalgia’.

Awesome Curaçao filmmaker Alaric Alexander Smeets directed and produced “Nostalgia: The Music of Wim Statius Muller”, a deeply moving gem of a documentary about the life and work of “Curaçao’s Chopin”. Statius Muller makes a particularly fascinating subject — and not just because his music is guaranteed to give you goosebumps (the doc is named after Statius Muller’s most famous waltz) — but because he decided to delay his musical career until after he retired from a 35-year stint in security and counterintelligence. Hence Smeets’ tag line: ‘Pianist. Composer. Spy.’

Born in Otrobanda, Curaçao in 1930, Statius Muller began taking piano lessons at age seven from Jacobo Palm, the grandson of Jan Gerard Palm (1831-1906) widely considered the “father of Curaçao classical music”. Statius Muller’s musical affinity was strongly influenced by waltzes and Frédéric Chopin‘s mazurkas played a lot in Curaçao throughout his youth. He went on to receive a degree in piano and composition from the prestigious Juilliard School of Music (1949 – 1954).

In 1955, Statius Muller began teaching piano and music history at Ohio State University. But by 1960, at the height of the Cold War, got tapped by the Dutch government and decided to collaborate on the creation of a Dutch Counterintelligence Service, initially based in Curaçao. In 1972, he relocated to the Netherlands and proceeded to hold management positions at the Domestic Security Service (“BVD”) in The Hague and then at NATO headquarters in Brussels. After his retirement in 1995, he returned to Curaçao, and resumed his love affair with the piano.

Statius Muller and Queen Beatrix.

Statius Muller and Queen Beatrix.

Statius Muller has composed dance music, waltzes and mazurkas, but also Caribbean dances such as the tumbaderived originally from the African Congo. His works are no longer intended for dance, but rather stylized and refined into concert music. He has published some of his compositions in Antillean Dances for piano (opus 2, 4, 5, 6), but many of his 200+ compositions have yet to be published.

Statius Muller was awarded a well-deserved Silver Carnation by Dutch Queen Beatrix in 2012 for his contribution to the preservation of the musical heritage of Curaçao. 

About 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao

I'm Carolina Gomes-Casseres, the creator of 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao. I live in and love Manhattan, but sometimes miss my first Awesome island...

3 comments

  1. Nicolaas

    Wim Statius Muller is a wonderful pianist. We are proud of him!

  2. Laurens & Christa Corsen-Jansen

    We love his music, great icon of beautiful Curacao classics, wonderful pianist

  3. Christine reed-fast

    Desperately seeking CD. This is the most wonderful music. It’s exuberance and charm is infectious.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: