Gateway: Living

Military veteran, original pianist brings ‘intense’ music to Harbor History Museum

Elijah Bossenbroek at his home in Gig Harbor. Bossenbroek will perform at the Harbor History Museum on June 16.
Elijah Bossenbroek at his home in Gig Harbor. Bossenbroek will perform at the Harbor History Museum on June 16. jbessex@gateline.com

Elijah Bossenbroek has no problem marching to the beat of his own drummer, especially when it comes to his music.

This was apparent during a piano recital when he was 15, when, instead of playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” assigned by his teacher, he tossed the music aside and played an original composition.

The audience loved it, Bossenbroek recalled; his teacher did not.

“It just became natural — more enjoyable — to write my own music then it was to figure out other people’s music,” Bossenbroek said.

It just became natural, more enjoyable, to write my own music then it was to figure out other people’s music.

Elijah Bossenbroek

Now 35, Bossenbroek is a professional pianist with two albums and an international fanbase.

“It’s a lot of arpeggios and is pretty intense,” Bossenbroek said of his music. “It’s more active listening music.”

He will perform at the Harbor History Museum as part of the Third Thursdays concert series from 7 to 8:30 p.m. June 16.

The museum looks for local musicians in a variety of musical genres when scheduling its Third Thursday concerts, said Museum Marketing & Events coordinator Alphild Dick.

“We really try to provide a range of different musical performances for people,” she said. “I think it’s going to be really neat to bring in somebody that’s dedicated to one instrument in particular.”

Bossenbroek grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and started piano lessons at age 6, keeping with it at his mom’s insistence even though the slow music and repetition bored him.

We really try to provide a range of different musical performances for people. I think it’s going to be really neat to bring in somebody that’s dedicated to one instrument in particular.

Alphild Dick, Marketing & Events coordinator for the Harbor History Museum

“She made with stick with it,” he said. “There really wasn’t any quitting in her book.”

And so Bossenbroek moved through three different teachers over the following 10 years of lessons.

“They all got pretty frustrated with me,” he said with a laugh.

Bossenbroek joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 18 and spent the next five years touring the world during his service, purchasing his first keyboard prior to separating in 2004.

After leaving the Marine Corps, it was his mother who spurred him beyond his dead-end job and to music, offering to pay him two months salary to record his first album.

Within that two month time frame, his first album, “Harmony In Disarray,” was created and caught the attention of a record studio, which helped produce his next album before Bossenbroek bought out his contract to be an independent performer again.

We’re excited to be here (in Gig Harbor). We feel really excited to find a place here that’s as much into the arts and culture as we are.

Bossenbroek

Bossenbroek moved to Gig Harbor with his wife and daughter in the summer of 2015 after his wife accepted a teaching job in Bremerton.

Getting involved in the Gig Harbor arts scene, Bossenbroek joined the Arts Commission in January and has been working toward his next album.

“We’re excited to be here,” he said of his family. “We feel really excited to find a place here that’s as much into the arts and culture as we are.”

Tickets for the event are $18 for museum members and $25 for non-members. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 253-858-6722 or visit harborhistorymuseum.org.

Andrea Haffly: 253-358-4155, @gateway_andrea

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