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JAN BOERMAN

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Jan Boerman

Period

30-06-1923 - current

Genre

componist, contemporary classical music, electronic mucic and computer music

Jan Boerman

Jan Boerman, a pioneer of electronic music in the Netherlands, is a master of “pure” electronic music. Most of his work consists of music whose sounds are mostly electronically generated and is entirely recorded on tape. Boerman has, however, worked in other genres and hybrid forms. His ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist

Mentioned in the biography of

1986   Huub Kerstens

Biography Jan Boerman

Jan Boerman, a pioneer of electronic music in the Netherlands, is a master of “pure” electronic music. Most of his work consists of music whose sounds are mostly electronically generated and is entirely recorded on tape. Boerman has, however, worked in other genres and hybrid forms. His music is distinguished by “human” qualities such as sonic beauty, an illusion of spaciousness, and dramatic build-up. A significant structural principle of his work is its temporal ordering according to the Fibonacci series, corresponding to classical Golden Section proportioning.

1956

Jan Boerman – born June 30, 1923 in The Hague – studies the piano with Léon Orthel at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and, after 1945, composition with Hendrik Andriessen. He initially composes orchestral and piano music. Several of these works have survived, such as an undated Adagio for orchestra and a Prelude, Rondo, Fantasia, Finale for two pianos.

1959 - 1960

Boerman gets his first experience with electronic instruments in the studio at the Delft University of Technology. He composes 'Musique concrète' (1959) and 'Alliage' (1960).

1961

Boerman composes 'Alchemie', his first work proportioned according to the Golden Section.

1963 - 1972

Together with Dick Raaijmakers, he sets up a private studio. There he creates 'De Zee' [The Sea, 1964-65] and 'Kompositie' 1972. The studio is moved to the Royal Conservatory in The Hague in 1972.

1974

Boerman begins teaching the piano and electronic music at the Royal Conservatory in the Hague.

1977

Donemus issues an LP with 'Kompositie 1972', 'De Zee' and 'Alchemie'.

1981 - 1984

Boerman is awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 1982 for his complete oeuvre. He joins the composers group 'Het nieuwe leven' [New Life], composing for this 'Weerstand' [Resistance, 1981], for sound objects, electronics and tapes; and 'Ontketening I' [The Unleashing I, 1983], for three sheets of aluminium, and tapes. 'Ontketening II', for percussion, electronics and tapes, follows in 1984.

1988 - 1989

Boerman works with the architect Jan Hoogstad on 'Maasproject', an open-air performance with light projection, brass instruments, Fairlight computer and 16-track tape. He subsequently creates 'Kompositie 1989' (the counterbalance) and 'Die Vögel' [The Birds, 1989], on a text by Friedrich Hölderlin, for choir, brass quartet, and tapes.

1991 - 1994

For the first time in years, he writes a large-scale work without electronics, 'Music for Percussion and Orchestra', which is performed by The Hague Philharmonic. Following years of preliminary studies, he completes 'Vocalise 1994', for 8 sound tracks.

1997

Boerman receives the Willem Pijper Prize for 'Vocalise 1994'. He composes his last electronic piece, 'Ruïne' [Ruin].

1998

Donemus and NEAR (the Nederlands Elektro-Akoestisch Repertoirecentrum) issue Boerman's complete tape music in a five-CD box set with extensive liner-notes.

1999

'The Complete Tape Music of Jan Boerman' receives an Edison award. The jury writes: “The jury is particularly struck by the fact that Boerman, more than anyone, has dispelled the persistant myth that electronic music is by definition rational, calculated, serial and barren. The impression that remains with the listener after a first hearing of Boerman's music is of its tremendous poetical force, a force that opens doors to unknown timbres, to magnificent panoramic sonic expanses. What is intriguing is that this grand, warmly lyrical style evokes unmistakable, strong associations with the colour-sensitive sonorities of Debussy and the exhalted, sometimes strongly leaning toward expansive, expressive lines of Bruckner's symphonic cathedrals. Yet Boerman remains purely himself, as attests his inherently personal sound that is “symphonic” in the most literal sense of the word. Those who open themselves without prejudices to Boerman's visionary art shall not be disappointed and may fall as strongly under the spell of this music as that of the great composers of yesteryear. The composer's detailed, crystal-clear commentary is included in the enviably well-designed booklet, making this superbly sounding production an absolute must for any serious music lover.”

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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