Vera Kerstens (1987) started playing piano when she was three years old. From age eight to eleven, Vera studied privately with Ton Hartsuiker, who was the director of the Conservatory of Amster- dam, and a well-known performer of 20th century classical music. At the age of eleven, she was admitted to the Young Talent department of the Conservatory of Amsterdam, to study with Mila Baslawskaja.

In the fall of 2005, Vera began normal undergraduate studies with Baslawskaja. In her sophomore year, she studied with Ruby Morgan, in the United States. In her senior year at the Conservatory of Amsterdam (2008-2009), she was accepted to both the Manhattan School of Music and the Conservatory of Zurich (Switzerland); she opted to go to Zurich in order to study with Homero Francesch.

PRIZES AND CONCERTS

Beginning at the age of twelve, when she won the first prize in the national finals of the Princess Christina Competition in The Hague, Vera won various prizes. As the recipient of the Young Pianist Foundation prize, she was invited to perform at the YPF Gala Concert in the recital hall of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. Vera played in De Doelen (Rotterdam), Stadsschouwburg (Amsterdam), Kleine and Grote Zaal Concertgebouw (Amsterdam), Nieuwe Kerk (The Hague), Oude Slot (Heemstede), and the like. She also performed at the Delft Chamber Music Festival.

INTERNATIONAL

In addition to playing in the major Dutch concert halls, Vera has had many engagements abroad. She went on tour in Curaçao, representing the “Young Talent” department of the Conservatory of Amsterdam, together with three other musicians. This was sponsored by the Prince Bernhard Culture Foundation. Vera performed in Kopenhagen, by invitation of the Dutch Embassy, and she collaborated with the Princess Christina Foundation on a tour of the United States and Canada. Furthermore, Vera has had performances in Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden, and Switzerland.

RECORDING

Vera recorded Glinka’s “Variations on the Song 'Nightingale' by Alyabyev ” for a CD produced by the Young Pianist Foundation.

CHAMBER MUSIC

Besides solo repertoire, Vera is an avid performer of chamber music repertoire: she has formed duos with violinists Marina Meerson, Nora van der Stelt, Tosca Opdam, and Jeanine van Amsterdam, with clarinetist Fleur Bouwer, with cellist Lidewij Faber, and with saxophonist Jodie Vianen, among others. Vera has also performed in various trios, quartets, and quintets.

VUmchapelle LUNCH CONCERT SERIES

Vera is joint initiator and head concert programmer of the VUmchapelle lunch concert series, which presents monthly concerts, in the chapel of the VU hospital.

Vera currently resides in Amsterdam.