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JAN VAN VLIJMEN

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Jan van Vlijmen

Period

11-10-1935 - 24-12-2004

Genre

componist, contemporary classical music

Jan van Vlijmen

Jan van Vlijmen writes chamber music, operas, songs and orchestral works. His compositions are strongly influenced by the serial music of Arnold Schoenberg. He is also attracted to the sumptuous orchestrations in the symphonic music of Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner and Alban Berg. As the director of the Royal Conservatory ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist

Mentioned in the biography of

1946   Tristan Keuris
1947   Lucas Vis
1951   Huib Emmer
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Biography Jan van Vlijmen

Jan van Vlijmen writes chamber music, operas, songs and orchestral works. His compositions are strongly influenced by the serial music of Arnold Schoenberg. He is also attracted to the sumptuous orchestrations in the symphonic music of Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner and Alban Berg. As the director of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, Van Vlijmen implements important educational innovations - including in the instruction of Baroque and Renaissance music, music theory, and modern and electronic music - and he adds various courses of study. Under his leadership the conservatory undertakes a series of large projects, such as one focussing on Monteverdi (led by Nikolaus Harnoncourt, 1972) and another on Stockhausen (led by the composer himself, 1982). In addition, Van Vlijmen is able to obtain a new building for the conservatory (with a modern, fully equipped theatre and concert hall and facilities for an electronic music department) that also houses a ballet academy and a secondary school for young and future conservatory students. After serving as general director of De Nederlandse Opera, which he left after a conflict, he led the Holland Festival in the 1990s.

1935

Jan van Vlijmen is born on October 11 in Rotterdam. He studies the piano and organ at the Utrecht conservatory and composition with Kees van Baaren.

1961 - 1965

Van Vlijmen is named director of the music school in Amersfoort. In 1965 he becomes a music theory teacher at the Utrecht Conservatory. His piece 'Gruppi' receives an award from the Ministry of Culture. Van Vlijmen is influenced by serialism, but with a very personal twist. He explains: “Serialism in the broadest sense of the word presents a tremendous amount of expressive possibilities. […] To my mind, the use of serialist precepts does not necessarily have to lead to pointillist music. The results can equally well be primarily melodic, or harmonic, or both”.

1967

Van Vlijmen is appointed adjunct director – under Kees van Baaren – of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He also teaches composition.

1969

The opera 'Reconstruction' (written in collaboration with Louis Andriessen, Reinbert de Leeuw, Misha Mengelberg, Peter Schat, Hugo Claus, and Harry Mulisch) is premiered at the Holland Festival. It is about the ideas of Che Guevara.

1970

Sonata per Pianoforte e Tre Gruppi Strumentali (1966) is awarded the Professor van der Leeuw Prize. Van Vlijmen succeeds Van Baaren as director of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague.

1972

'Omaggio a Gesualdo' (1971) wins the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize.

1975 - 1977

Together with Reinbert de Leeuw, Van Vlijmen composes the opera 'Axel'.

1980

His orchestral piece 'Quaterni' (1979) is awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize. The new Royal Conservatory building is opened in the spring. Van Vlijmen prepares to resign from the conservatory, mainly to devote himself to composition.

1984 - 1987

The Ministry of Culture asks Van Vlijmen to become the director of De Nederlandse Opera. He accepts the position, then resigns several years later. According to Van Vlijmen, the government subsidy is insufficient to guarantee the opera's artistic quality.

1987

Van Vlijmen completes the score and instrumentation of 'Summer Rites at Noon', a work for two orchestras left unfinished by Rudolf Escher at his death in 1980.

1990

Van Vlijmen becomes the artistic director of the Holland Festival. The opera 'Un malheureux vêtu de noir', about the final years of Vincent van Gogh and his brother Theo, is premiered in Amsterdam in this year of the hundredth anniversary of Van Gogh's death.

1994

Van Vlijmen orchestrates piano works and lieder by Arnold Schoenberg and Alexander Zemlinsky.

1997

Jan van Vlijmen resigns from the Holland Festival and takes up residence in Normandy, France.

2004

Jan van Vlijmen Shortly before his death, he finishes the opera 'Thyeste', on a libretto by Hugo Claus. “Music has to be compelling and sombre, but that doesn't mean that I am just strict note-counter. I am bursting with emotions!” Van Vlijmen says that 'Thyeste' has become a “very old-fashioned” opera. “Atreus, of course, is a tenor, what's more a heroic tenor. Thyestes is a dramatic baritone”. Van Vlijmen dies of leukaemia on December 24 in Réveillon, France.

2005

'Thyeste' is premiered at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in a coproduction with De Nederlandse Reisopera.

2007

Van Vlijmen's last composition, 'Trio Estatico', written for the Osiris Trio, is premiered.

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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