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Moller to perform recital tonight

Pianist from Vienna brings his talents to Jewell

—Daily Freeman-Journal photos by Billie Shelton Stephan Moller’s stay in Jewell included “Beethoven for Young Children,” a Tuesday afternoon session. Here, he works with a young pianist at the church. Moller will present a Beethoven Recital tonight at 7 p.m. at the United Church of Christ in Jewell.

It’s not unusual for someone to invite friends to their home. But when Don and Delayna Beattie invited their colleague and close friend to their home in Jewell, it meant that Stephan Moller had to travel from Vienna, Austria to take advantage of their hospitality.

It’s a distance that doesn’t keep the three friends apart for long, though.

“We’ve been friends for 25 years, and we’ve been together at least 25 times, and we’ve been together at least 25 times,” Beattie said. And as for his friend making the long trip to the middle of Iowa, Beattie doesn’t see that as unusual at all.

“Why shouldn’t he come here?” he asks. “This is where I live.”

“Where Don is, I always feel at home,” Moller said with a soft smile, just hours after the final leg of his trip from Austria to Des Moines and on to Jewell.

Yet even as much as this is a celebration of a close, warm relationship that spans the globe, having Moller in Jewell is also an opportunity for the public to hear him perform a Beethoven piano recital on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the United Church of Christ in Jewell. Moller has performed in concerts all over the world, including at Carnegie Hall in New York City, as well as other locations such as China, Japan, and Korea.

And yet, according to Beattie, “Stephan would not think twice about coming to our town to play.

“This concert is really special, because the program he’s playing Wednesday is the same one as in 1986,” continues Beattie, who will give a pre-concert talk on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m..

Wednesday’s concert will be devoted to works by Beethoven.

“When I heard Stephan play the first time, I thought ‘this is something really special,'” Beattie said. “He plays Beethoven the way it’s meant to be played. Beethoven is for everyone.”

Moller, born in Hamburg, Germany, has lived in Vienna for 27 years.

“Vienna has always been my dream place to live. All the famous 19th century musicians lived there. Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert — they were all there,” said Moller, who has sponsored an annual piano festival there since 1999. He also established the Beethoven Society.

Plans are for Moller to stay a brief time in Jewell before heading to California on Friday to judge a piano competition there.

Don and Delayna Beattie, who moved to Jewell in 2016, have worked with their Austrian friend on many festivals over the years. They now live in the Jewell home where Delayna grew up and where they have their piano studio. They work with students of all abilities from age 6 through adult. Don is retired after spending thirty years as a professor of piano at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.

“Delayna and I have enjoyed music our whole lives, but then to meet up with someone like Stephan is amazing,” Beattie states.

As if in answer to his friend, Moller states with a smile, “Making music together with wonderful friends is the pinnacle of everything.”

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