He was a composer and teacher born in Enschede, The
Netherlands, whose father owned a music shop.
He learned to play the cello, piano and harmonica when
he was young and was given much encouragement by his parents to continue in
music. After he left high
school he entered the Stern Conservatory in Berlin to take studies in piano
and composition in 1924, remaining there for the next 5 years before going
back home in 1929 to study with the Dutch composer Willem Pijper, who
became his mentor and a huge influence to him. He later dedicated his “Piano Sonatine” to Pijper.
He went into several years of non-creativeness on the
composition side of things but he finance himself by performing as a jazz
musician at the Kabarett der Unmoglichen. but on his return he lent towards
the “serial technique” which was influenced by the composers Webern and
Pijper and his use of the twelve-tone technique, first noted in the early
1950s on his “Septet for Five Winds, Violin and Double Bass”, gained him
recognition as the first Dutch composer to use it.
A respected teacher, he taught at the Rotterdam
Conservatory from 1945 until he was given the position of director at the
Amsterdam Music Lyceum (later the Amsterdam Conservatoire) in 1948. This was followed by a directorship
at the Utrecht Conservatoire from 1953 and the Royal Conservatory in The
Hague in 1958. His students
over the years included Louis Andriessen, Theo Bruins, David Porcelijn and
His compositions include numerous works such that
include a symphony, concertos and concertinos, a sonatina, a cantata, a
partita, a string quartet, a wind quintet, a septet, “Variations for
Orchestra” along with other orchestral pieces, works for organ and works
for male chorus such as “Alperjagerslied” and “Ichnaton”.
Recognised for his contribution to music, he was
awarded the Sweelinck Prize in 1969.
He died in Oegstgeest in 1970 when he was 63 years old.
Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra recordings
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (Kees van Baaren)
NM Classics 92058
Conductor – Alexander Vedernikov
Pianist – David Kuyken