🇬🇧Wittgenstein Project

Prisma trio -Wittgenstein project. © Foppe Schut .lowres. _S224696

Just started! A fascinating project about two pianists who both lost their right arms in the middle of their careers and nevertheless chose to continue their musicianship. 

Paul Wittgenstein lost his arm in World War I. Nevertheless he decided to continue his piano career. After returning to his home town Vienna he commissioned beautiful, late-romantic chamber music with piano left hand. 

In a special staging by Ellen Blom with texts by Herman van Tongerloo and a decor by Hans Jeths our concert program Van mijn hand lets you relive Wittgenstein's life story through music. Four Dutch composers are writing new work. Audiences react elated: ‘This music touches my soul.” 

(Concerts; dates and venues...)

Prisma String Trio

Folke Nauta, piano left hand

Lars Wouters van den Oudenweijer, clarinet

Van mijn handPaul Wittgenstein, his legacy and the future

Ernest Walker - Variations on an original theme (1933)

Josef Labor  OR:  Hans Gál

Prach Boondiskulchok OR: Jeppe Moulijn OR: Marlijn Helder OR: Primo Ish-Hurwitz - New work

- pauze -

Frédéric Chopin - Étude Révolutionnaire (arrangement for piano-left-hand by Leopold Godowsky)

Franz Schmidt - Quintet in A OR: Quintet in Bes

logo's fondsen

The Wittgenstein Project could not have been realised without the financial support of: Performing Arts Fund NL, Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst, Fonds 21, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, NORMA fonds, SENA performersfonds, Gravin van Bylandt Stichting.

About the project

Our Folke Nauta recently lost the use of his right hand due to focal dystonia. He approached Prisma Trio to perform the chamber music written for Wittgenstein, including works that were hidden from the world until 2001 in Wittgenstein's library.

We designed an inspired plan, with 21 concerts, four new compositions by Dutch composers, two Double Albums and a five-part Podcast Documentary.


The program features chamber music composed for Wittgenstein. Pieces by Josef Labor and Ernest Walker have never been played since Wittgenstein himself premiered them.  The works of Franz Schmidt and Hans Gál are now getting the attention they deserve. Every program features a new piece by a Dutch composer, specially written for the Wittgenstein Project; With this project we continue Wittgenstein's life's work.

Imagination enhances the musical content. In collaboration with director Ellen Blom and set designer Hans Jeths, the podium transforms into Wittgenstein's inner world. We will use simple, non technical means because the music comes first. The emotional path that Paul Wittgenstein follows as a  human being, is reflected in the music.

New compositions

Without Paul Wittgenstein, Maurice Ravel's Concerto pour la main gauche would not have existed. We, in turn, invite composers to continue Wittgenstein's life's work with the voice of the 21st century. Their work will interact with the existing repertoire.

Jeppe Moulijn, Marlijn Helder, Prach Boondiskulchok and Primo Ish-Hurwitz will all write a 10-minute work for piano left hand, clarinet and string trio. The compositions do justice to Wittgenstein's desire to function fully, not as a 'half pianist'.


In the course of the project, Cobra Records will release two double albums with the works that Wittgenstein kept hidden in his library for so long. Just now, the first album Left Hand Legacy Vol. I has been released. It features works by Franz Schmidt, Josef Labor, Ernest Walker and Hans Gál. The last three are CD world premieres.


Who was Wittgenstein? What does his story do to you? It will be revealed in a five-part podcast documentary by Lex Bohlmeijer. The musicians talk about the search for the music and how it is to play it. Folke discusses the loss of a hand and what that means for a pianist. Historian Luc Panhuysen explains the historical context and contemporary composers also have their say. In addition to our own music recordings, historical recordings and interviews with Wittgenstein himself can be heard.

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