KAREL PHILIPPUS BERNET KEMPERS
Karel Philippus Bernet Kempers
Karel Bernet Kempers was one of the pioneers of musicology in the Netherlands. His greatest achievement in this field, aside from training generations of students, is his 21-volume scholarly edition of the complete works of Clemens non Papa. His book Muziekgeschiedenis [Music History] emphasizes the inherent developmental factors and social ...
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Biography Karel Philippus Bernet Kempers
Karel Bernet Kempers was one of the pioneers of musicology in the Netherlands. His greatest achievement in this field, aside from training generations of students, is his 21-volume scholarly edition of the complete works of Clemens non Papa. His book Muziekgeschiedenis [Music History] emphasizes the inherent developmental factors and social conditions that shaped the stylistic changes within the separate genres.
1897 - 1919
Karel Philippus Kempers is born on September 20 in Nijkerk – in 1919 his surname is changed by Royal Decree to Bernet Kempers.
1919 - 1922
In Amsterdam, he studies music theory and composition with Bernard Zweers and music history with Simon van Milligen, author of the first somewhat extensive music history book in Dutch. He also has piano lessons with Gonda van Dam.
1922 - 1928
Musicology not yet being taught in the Netherlands, Bernet Kempers goes to Munich, where he studies with the musicologist Adolf Sandberger. He is awarded his doctorate summa cum laude on a thesis about the motets of the 16th-century composer Jacobus Clemens non Papa, a leading representative of the “fourth generation” of the Low Countries' composers. In 1928, the thesis is published as a book.
Bernet Kempers begins teaching music history at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He is also taken on as a Privatdozent or volunteer instructor at the University of Amsterdam, thus becoming the first musicologist employed by a Dutch university.
Utrecht University establishes a chair for musicology, occupied by A. Smijers. His intention to move the Vereeniging voor Nederlandsche Muziekgeschiedenis [Society for Dutch Music History] library to Utrecht leads to a conflict with Bernet Kempers, who is able to keep the collection in Amsterdam.
Bernet Kempers writes the first comprehensive music history book in Dutch. His 'Muziekgeschiedenis' sets musical styles and genres in historical perspective without putting too much emphasis on composers' biographical data.
1934 - 1936
Bernet Kempers is appointed professor of music history at the Amsterdam Conservatory. He is secretary of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Toonkunstenaars-Vereniging (KNTV) [The Royal Dutch Society of Musicians] and later becomes its chairman. The collection 'Muziek in der ban der letteren' [Music influenced by Literature] appears in 1936.
1937 - 1939
He is appointed lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. 'Meesters der Muziek' [Masters of Music] is published in 1939, a book that adds to his 'Muziekgeschiedenis' by presenting a series of biographical sketches. Like 'Muziekgeschiedenis', it too is reprinted a number of times.
1940 - 1945
During the German occupation of the Netherlands, Bernet Kempers is active in the artists resistance to the Nazi cultural politics, leading to his incarceration for several months in Scheveningen and Amersfoort.
Bernet Kempers is appointed associate professor in Amsterdam. He often writes for the monthly music journal 'Preludium' and is a member of the Concertgebouw Orchestra board, the Dutch National Arts Council, and the Amsterdam Arts Council.
Bernet Kempers receives a full professorship at the University of Amsterdam and, after a lengthy conflict with the university's administration, an independent musicological institute is established.
Bernet Kempers is appointed professor emeritus. Suffering from a heart condition, he is less active in his later years.
Karel Bernet Kempers dies in Amsterdam on September 30.
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