23-12-1913 - 29-12-1995
Hans Henkemans, one of the leading Dutch pianists and composers of the 20th century, wrote orchestral, vocal and chamber music, and an opera. For twenty-five years he performed as a concert pianist. Though he was not trained at a conservatory, in the 1960s he began teaching composition and orchestration at ...
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Tera de Marez Oyens
Biography Hans Henkemans
Hans Henkemans, one of the leading Dutch pianists and composers of the 20th century, wrote orchestral, vocal and chamber music, and an opera. For twenty-five years he performed as a concert pianist. Though he was not trained at a conservatory, in the 1960s he began teaching composition and orchestration at the Groningen Conservatory and the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum. During this period, he was also a psychiatric consultant at a hospital in Amsterdam. He played a significant role in the fierce musicological debate of that time. After ending his career as a concert pianist, he continued to compose and work as a psychiatrist for musicians and other artists. He characterised his style of composition as: “tending toward the extreme of pluritonal expression, but at its core, a monotonal way of writing”.
1913 - 1931
Hans Henkemans is born on December 23, 1913, in The Hague. He takes piano and composition lessons with Bernhard van den Sigtenhorst Meyer.
1931 - 1950
From 1933 to 1938, he studies composition with Willem Pijper and is at the same time a medical student, from 1931, at Utrecht University. In addition he takes piano lessons with George van Renesse. In 1932, Henkemans is the soloist in the premiere of his 'Concerto' for piano and orchestra. During the German occupation, he refuses to report to the Culture Chamber. In 1946, he becomes a member of the Honour Council, which looks into the wartime activities of Dutch musicians. From December 1945, he performs regularly as a soloist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, whose chief conductor is now Eduard van Beinum. He specialises in the piano music of Claude Debussy and later also of Maurice Ravel and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He writes cadenzas for several of Mozart’s piano concertos, which are also used by Krystian Zimmerman. He often performs as soloist in performances of his own compositions – his 'Passacaglia and Gigue' (1942) for piano and orchestra is performed more than 60 times in the Netherlands and abroad.
1950 - 1960
Henkemans is among the most frequently performed Dutch composers. He dedicates his 'Concerto per violino ed orchestra' (1950) to Theo Olof and his 'Concert voor Harp en Orkest' (1955) to Phia Berghout and the Concertgebouw Orchestra.
1962 - 1969
Henkemans composes preferably from a melodic line, possibly a12-tone melody, but he rejects the concept of dodecaphony. He regards serial music, electronic music and other experiments in which the creating musician distances himself from emotional communication with the listener as a separate art form. In an article in the Algemeen Handelsblad in 1962, he proposes that this form of auditory art be called "soniek" [sonics]. This triggers lengthy discussions among critics, musicians and listeners and plays a role in the debate over the renewal of musical culture in its entirety. In 1967, he adds to these thoughts with a psychological analysis of “actual” music. In later publications, too, he maintains that the value of music is determined by feelings it can generate in the listener. 'Bericht aan de levenden' (1965), a work for narrator, choir and orchestra based on the similarly named text by H.M. van Randwijk, is written on a commission from the Artists 1942-1945 Resistance Foundation. It has been performed annually since its premiere on May 4, 1965.
1969 - 1980
Declining health forces Henkemans to end his piano career in 1969, from which time he concentrates fully on composing and psychiatric practice. His instrumentation of Debussy’s 'Préludes, livre I et II' (1913) in 1972 is a sign of his admiration for the French composer. From 1974 to 1977, he composes his sole opera, 'Winter Cruise', based on a short story by William Somerset Maugham. The opera is premiered two years later in the Circustheater in Scheveningen.
The University of Amsterdam awards a Henkemens a doctorate, at age 67, on the thesis 'Sublimatie-stoornissen bĳ kunstenaars' [Sublimation disorders in artists] – published by Van Loghum Slaterus, 1981. After receiving the degree, he is inducted to the Genootschap voor Natuur-, genees- en Heelkunde [Society for Physics, Medicine and Surgery].
1993 - 1995
At age 80, in De Gids literary journal, Henkemans makes a final attempt to demonstrate a real distinction on psychological grounds between experimental music and what he calls simply music. His article 'Muziek als psychologisch-auditief fenomeen' [Music as a psychological-auditory phenomenon] generates no discussion. Hans Henkemans dies on December 29, 1995.
Discography Hans Henkemans
Harrie Starreveld - Imaginary Landscape
|Type and year||CD, 1997|
|Label||NM Classics, NM 92068|
|componist||Ton de Leeuw|
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.
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