A few days without a piano and I really get nervous’ asserts Joja Wendt. “I constantly hunger for the keys, five hours playing feels like only hour to me.” Joja Wendt is a pianist through and through, his concerts fill the largest concert halls. He is, without doubt, technically brilliant and driven when at his instrument. However, when he talks about his music, easily sitting back and yet elegant, it seems impossible that this man could ever get nervous. Even his small talk is ‚great entertainment’ – Joja Wendt is charming, attentive, articulate and quick-witted, in a word: poised. A characteristic that not only his audience appreciates. He has reached the point, where his name is used synonymously with that of his instrument: Joja Wendt = Piano.
The fascination of the singing keys grips the boy before he can even pronounce his own name “Johan” correctly. The name remains “Joja” and he stayed with the piano. But what started as a game, quickly turns into an all encompassing part of his life.
The parents are not thrilled that their son plays until late into the night and thus the boy lets himself be locked into the music room of the school by the janitor – secretly, of course, and well provided with sandwiches and something to drink. Joja Wendt even misses his ‚A’ Level graduation party, because he is playing and he finally goes to study in Hilversum (Netherlands) and afterwards in New York at the Manhattan School of Music.
At least since their honeymoon his wife knows that she has serious competition. Four weeks on a dream of an island in the South China Sea, with one drawback: No keyboard to be found for miles around. Salvation comes in the form of a 5-star hotel at the other end of the island. That means several hours of marching through dense jungle, following a guide. And all that for a mediocre keyboard, but at least the honeymoon can continue.
Today Joja Wendt lives in Hamburg with his wife and two children; obviously his love of the piano has not harmed his marriage. After all, Joja Wendt is not a grim nerd, he can easily distance himself from his work. For recreation he reads about evolution biology and he has been playing table-tennis in Hamburg’s highest class to keep body and mind in tune. And if he wants more thrills, the passionate free rider takes his skis to the best powder snow runs on the planet.
Numerous concert tours have taken Joja Wendt around the world. From Germany and Europe to the stages of glittering metropolis’, such as New York’s Carnegie Hall as well as out-of-the-way corners like a small music school in the Siberian peninsula of Kamtschatka, of which he likes to tell in his concerts. He played with icons like Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry, played as support for Fats Domino and Joe Cocker on stage, hosted TV shows, composed the music for one of Germany’s most successful cinema film and currently is part of the jury for the ambitious children TV project “Your Song”, in which the composition of children have the chance of being performed by stars.
In the year 2006 “Steinway-Artist” Joja Wendt was on a world tour with the “Steinway Family Tour” for nearly 6 months and played in sold out concerts before enthusiastic audiences on 4 continents, in Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Indonesia, the USA and Canada.
Joja Wendt has done, seen and played many things, but his thirst for more is still unquenched: Whether he plays incognito with a false beard and hair piece at small festivals, works on a virtuoso electronic project named ‘Classic Reloaded’ or plans rock versions of classical pieces with the help of an alternative band – he never seems to run out of ideas. Where does this drive come from? Joja Wendt shrugs and laughs his youthful laugh: “I simply love doing it. I am a pianist.”
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