Lianne Steeman: “I started to compose piano music when my father fell ill”

Portrait of Lianne Steeman
3 minute read

This young female composer and pianist from the Netherlands started to create and publish music as a way of coping with her father’s terminal illness. This turned into her personal healing journey – and more! Nowadays her passion for piano music makes her skyrocket on Instagram.

OKTAV: How did your love of music begin?

LIANNE STEEMAN: With my father, back when I was a small girl. He used to put me on his lap when he played the piano, and I loved that. My mother plays music, too – she sings and plays the piano and the guitar. At age 6 – literally as soon as I was able to cobble words together – I wrote them a little note asking “may I please have piano lessons?”

On starting with music

OKTAV: How did your style evolve in almost a quarter of a century of playing the piano?

LIANNE STEEMAN: I spent my youth playing every day, and, as I also played the violin, my days were filled with preparing for solo or orchestra recitals and concerts. After school, I started to study medicine to become a doctor, but did not finish. Instead, I kept developing my piano skills at the conservatory in Maastricht – actually, the teacher I had there still coaches me. I find it useful, for example, when I’m stuck in a piece and need a fresh pair of ears and eyes.

OKTAV: How did you start out on the violin?

LIANNE STEEMAN: My grandma used to play it, but had stopped. I kept nagging her to take her instrument down from the attic where it was gathering dust. She did, and I played her old violin for a while before I got my own.

Image of sheet music from Lianne

On early influences

OKTAV: What are your musical influences?

LIANNE STEEMAN: I played a lot of Yann Tiersen and Ludovico Einaudi. Chopin is definitely a huge influence, and probably my favorite composer. You can hear his influence on me in my composition “Wandering Thoughts“. Furthermore, Beethoven is a big influence, as you can hear in my take on “Für Elise”. I call my rendition “Pure Elise”.

On starting to compose music

OKTAV: How and when did you start to compose music?

LIANNE STEEMAN: My father became terminally ill. I wanted to celebrate what was presumably going to be his final birthday by recording an album of my own music for him, which I did. I started my Instagram account “piano passion Lianne” to share that journey. The interesting thing is, I found that even though composing started for a sad reason, in the end, much joy came from it. People I did not know discovered my profile. Other musicians did, too, and I connected with them and learned a lot from them. A fanbase grew. Other people shared their thoughts on my music. That’s very special.

OKTAV: How do you structure your day to integrate your music?

LIANNE STEEMAN: I am the mother of a little girl, so I spend every free minute on music – mostly before noon, and after my daughter goes to bed.

“I love that OKTAV is all about sheet music. I love the aesthetics of sheet music, and there’s something on OKTAV for everyone.”

Lianne Steeman

OKTAV: Could you describe the process of composing your music?

LIANNE STEEMAN: Easy. For example, I have a theme, a melody or chord progression, stuck in my mind, and then I cannot rest until I have put it on paper, for fear it might vanish. Once it is written down my head is free for new ideas. One more thing is, I like to look at my writing while I am in the process of composing, visualizing it, really thinking in notation and sheet music. I love the aesthetics of sheet music, it looks beautiful, and lets me preserve and reproduce my ideas. Reading sheet music, to me, is like reading a book.

OKTAV: What advice do you have for piano players in the OKTAV community?

LIANNE STEEMAN: Follow your heart, follow your passion! Don’t let anyone tell you not to follow your dream because you’ll come back to it anyway.

Find Lianne Steeman on Instagram

Find Lianne Steeman sheet music on OKTAV

Find Lianne Steeman on Youtube