Enter a house of harmony

Jessie Vonk relaxing with dog Billy at her Hans Vonk Music House in Spreyton. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER
Jessie Vonk relaxing with dog Billy at her Hans Vonk Music House in Spreyton. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

A SMALL patch of land at Spreyton captured the attention of the well-travelled and creative Jessie Vonk who has established a music arts centre and garden to share her and her husband's love of classical music.

Mrs Vonk, a sculptor and former ballerina, moved from Holland to Tasmania after the death of her husband Hans Vonk, an illustrious  Dutch conductor.

She built the Hans Vonk Music House in his memory and, today, privately hosts intimate musical events in the captivating natural surroundings almost once a month.

Next month a piano quartet - piano, violin, cello and viola - will play through Virtuosi Tasmania, an ensemble that attracts some of the state's premier musicians to bring classical music to regional Tasmania.

Mrs Vonk said that in the last years of his life, her husband loved to listen to chamber music, a form of classical music traditionally played in small palace chambers, or at house concerts.

``When I immigrated to Tasmania I not only bought three containers, with a grand piano and furniture, but also the idea that I would like to continue his love of chamber music, which we had at the end of his [Hans'] life, so it is like bringing his soul here,'' Mrs Vonk said.

``I have had such an incredible life, travelling all over the world and experiencing so many things. With a conductor you are only in big cities but now I am back in nature. I can digest my life.

``I have everything that I love here - nature, sculpture and the music house.''

Mrs Vonk met Hans when he became a conductor for the Dutch National Ballet, for whom she danced with for 11 years.

The couple were married for 35 years until his death from motor neurone disease in 2004.

Two years later she moved to Tasmania to be closer to her family and began to develop the one hectare plot of land that she had owned for some years.

The Hans Vonk Music House was opened in 2010.

``I thought having a piece of land in Tasmania was a joke but I totally fell in love,'' Mrs Vonk said.

``It is paradise. I live here with three cats, one dog and three alpacas. We have animals, nature and art, so you can't think of anything else better, and it makes people happy.''

Musician William Newbery, who will play at the house next month, said the musical setting was stunning.


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