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ALBERT DE KLERK

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Albert de Klerk

Period

04-10-1917 - 01-12-1998

Genre

classical, componist, orgel

Online

Website

Albert de Klerk

De Klerk was the organist at St. Joseph's Church in Haarlem, playing there the Adema organ from the time he was 16 until his death. As the organist of the city of Haarlem, he performed at least 6,400 times, playing a multitude of improvisations. These were the subject of a ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist, orgel

Mentioned in the biography of

1935   Anthon van der Horst
1940   Herman Strategier
1954   Leo van Doeselaar
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Biography Albert de Klerk

De Klerk was the organist at St. Joseph's Church in Haarlem, playing there the Adema organ from the time he was 16 until his death. As the organist of the city of Haarlem, he performed at least 6,400 times, playing a multitude of improvisations. These were the subject of a doctoral thesis in which Gerard Sars concluded: “Improvising as he did renews church music from within so that participants in the liturgy are not alienated.” De Klerk had his own musical language, a moderately modern idiom, with a leaning toward the style of César Franck and Hendrik Andriessen. “De Klerk, who was gifted with absolute pitch and sharp theoretical and practical insight, had a legendary musicality. [...] As an improviser, he was world famous among his colleagues, in part thanks to the Haarlem organ competition each summer, which drew countless organists to the city.” De Klerk was self-taught as a composer.

1917

Albert de Klerk is born on October 4 in Haarlem. His father, the Flemish musician Jos de Klerk (1885-1969), had fled Antwerp to seek safety from the dangers of World War I in Haarlem, where he works as the organist and choral conductor at St. Joseph's Church.

1931

Albert de Klerk takes his first piano lessons with Hendrik Andriessen. From age 14, he is Andriessen's assistant organist at St. Joseph's.

1934

At 16, he succeeds Andriessen as St. Joseph's organist. He goes to the Amsterdam Conservatory and studies the organ with Cornelis de Wolf, Jacob Bijster, and Anthon van der Horst and piano with Anton Tierie, George van Renesse and Willem Smalt.

1939

He graduates cum laude with an award for improvisation.

1941

De Klerk receives the Prix d'Excellence and the Toonkunst Music Prize, but because of the war he can neither continue his studies nor give concerts. Together with Jan Mul and Herman Strategier, he forms the club “Tres Pueri”. They produce clandestine music publications. In 1942, they compose the 'Missa trium puerorum' [Mass of the Three Boys], which they dedicate to the then 50-year-old Andriessen.

1946

De Klerk conducts the Haarlem Catholic Choir, which he founded, and begins teaching the organ at the School for Church Music in Utrecht, something he continues to do until 1964.

1952

He is invited to be a jury member at the Organ Improvisation Competition, an initiative that began in part through his father's efforts in 1951.

1956

Together with Piet Kee, he is named organist of the city of Haarlem. His productivity and improvisational skill are enormous.

1962

His LP 'Die Kleinorgel' (Telefunken) receives an Edison award.

1964

De Klerk begins teaching the organ at the Amsterdam Conservatory, where he trains a generation of distinguished organists, including Hans van Nieuwkoop, Gert Oost and Leo van Doeselaar.

1983

He resigns from the conservatory (now renamed Sweelinck Conservatory). Upon resigning as the city organist of Haarlem, he receives the Jos de Klerk Prize, an award initiated by his father to honour Haarlemmers who have made a special contribution to the city's cultural life.

1991

For his accomplishments as a composer of sacred choral music, he receives the Netherlands Choral Prize.

1992

In honour of his 75th birthday on October 4, the Netherlands Institute for Music gives him a liber amicorum that is published under the title Klerk-werk.

1998

From the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Europäischer Chorverbände, he receives the AEC Preise. On December 1, as he is going home from St. Joseph's, where he still plays every Sunday, Albert de Klerk dies of a cerebral hemorrhage. A memorial relates his thoughts on St. Joseph's Church: “St. Joseph's is where I have spent most of my life. It was there that as an infant being baptised I let loose my first little cries, and it is there that I hope to have my requiem.” After his death, the Andriessen/De Klerk Foundation is begun to preserve the aristic heritage of these two musicians by organizing or supporting a number of concerts of their music each year in Haarlem.

Discography Albert de Klerk

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Albert de Klerk

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