A family that plays together grows together. This rings especially true in the musical family of Alexander C. Melchers whose 208-year-old family company C. Melchers Gmbh & Company opened Asia’s first Steinway Gallery at Palais Renaissance shopping mall in 2011.
Growing up in the picturesque harbour city Bremen in north Germany, Melchers was surrounded by music and proved to be adept at several instruments. The 47-year-old learnt the flute at five, guitar at eight and then the cello at 12, which he still plays today. Indeed, the temptation to tinkle on the ivories our 40-minute interview at Steinway Gallery proves too strong to resist and he plays a few simple tunes.
“My two sisters played the piano and my cello was always standing nearby. So when I practised, my sisters would gather and we would make music together. The things you do with your family are most intimate.”
Melchers moved to Singapore in 1996 when he joined the family business after his uncle Henning Melchers, who was managing partner at the head office in Bremen, asked him to help set up the Singapore office. Besides being the local distributor of Steinway pianos, C. Melchers Gmbh & Company distributes luxury timepieces like Patek Phillipe and Breitling. The conglomerate is also in the oil and gas, and aviation businesses.
Being away from the house he grew up in has made him treasure his annual trips back to Bremen for Christmas even more. It’s when his family gathers to play Christmas songs, a tradition he hopes to continue with his four children, who at below four years old, are still too young to play any instruments.
“As a child, you don’t really value that activity. But when I think back of those times, we’ve been playing music together for 47 years in the same house my parents still live in. I hope I can give that to my children.
“Sure, you don’t need music to live. It’s not like reading, writing or even walking. But if you want to have a multi-dimensional life and if you want to connect with people, you need these mediums. Music is one of the very important ones.”