Tobing plays Chopin in Paris

Chopin and Thomas Tobing, a pianist of Slovenian-Indonesian Descent and the Oldest Church in Paris, St. Julien-le-Pauvre

This perhaps unusual combination made for an exceptional evening of listening to Chopin works played by Thomas Tobing at the church of St. Julien-le-Pauvre in Paris within walking distance of Notre Dame.

St. Julien-le-Pauvre is a gothic style stone church with portions of its construction dating back to the 13th century.  It is the only one of its kind in Paris to survive. It is in remarkable condition and holds about 200. There is a special feeling when hearing a concert in this church. You are literally transported back in time first to the 13th century and then to the 19th century where you experience Chopin being skillfully played by the energetic and charismatic pianist Thomas Tobing. (This is the second time that we have attended an enjoyable concert at this remarkable venue.

Mr. Tobing played with only a brief break for almost an hour and fifteen minutes. He played a mixture of Chopin’s 9 etudes, 10 preludes, 2 waltzes, the polonaise Op 44, and a ballade #3 Op 47. His playing was so exceptional that the audience of 200 brought him back three times. After this demanding performance he still had time to meet the many attendees and receive their expressions of appreciation. He spoke easily in French and English. He is also fluent in several other languages including his native Slovenian.

Mr. Tobing has an interesting background. He received his music training in his native Ljubljana, Slovenia which is the capital of Slovenia. For his interpretation of Chopin’s Piano Concerto No 1 Op 11 he received the highest award possible in Slovenia for a student, the Preseren Prize. As a recipient of a scholarship from the Slovenian Ministry of Culture he went on to study in Munich where he received his Masters in Music.

From 1997-2000 he studied in Canada at the invitation of the Vancouver Academy of Music. He performs regularly in North America, Indonesia, and Japan and throughout Europe. He is currently a resident of Paris where he is able to realize his love of performing Chopin on a regular basis at the church of St. Julien-le-Pauvre. We encourage all of our readers, when in Paris, to look for this beautiful church and please consider attending one of its many fine concerts that occur on a weekly basis.

It would be wonderful if Mr. Tobing could perform in the Detroit area. In closing I would like to mention that his skill at playing Chopin is so outstanding that in 1995 he was selected as the first Slovenian to compete in the Frederic Chopin competition in Warsaw.

Frank J. Dmuchowski

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