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PIET KEE

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Portret Piet Kee

Period

30-08-1927 - current

Genre

classical, componist, contemporary classical music, orgel

Piet Kee

Piet Kee was taught to play the organ by his father, Cor Kee. In the early 1950s, he won the prestigious Haarlem International Organ Improvisation Competition three times. Kee, for decades the city organist at the St. Bavo Cathedral in Haarlem and organist at St. Laurence Church in Alkmaar, is ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist, orgel

Mentioned in the biography of

1935   Anthon van der Horst
1968   Wim de Ruiter

Biography Piet Kee

Piet Kee was taught to play the organ by his father, Cor Kee. In the early 1950s, he won the prestigious Haarlem International Organ Improvisation Competition three times. Kee, for decades the city organist at the St. Bavo Cathedral in Haarlem and organist at St. Laurence Church in Alkmaar, is internationally acclaimed for his playing and as an improviser. He has made many concert tours of Europe, Asia, America, and Australia. Piet Kee is the author of articles about the number symbolism in Baroque ostinato music, particularly in works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude. His compositions have come into being largely through his consummate mastery of the famous organs in Alkmaar and Haarlem. Kee gives special attention to the spatial aspect of sound, as evidenced by his Music and Space (1969), for two organs and five brass instruments; Confrontation (1980), for church organ and three street organs; and Festival Spirit (2001), for five organs (commissioned by the International Organ Festival at St. Albans, England). Inscribed in his compositions is the motto musicus index legum – the musician shows the law, that is, the essence of life.

1927 - 1951

Piet Kee - born on August 30, 1927 in Zaandam - is the son of the composer and organist Cor Kee. He studies the organ with his father, and later at the Amsterdam Conservatory with Anthon van der Horst and others. Upon graduating, he is awarded the Prix d’Excellence. Kee also plays the piano, violin and clarinet.

Anthon van der Horst Cor Kee

1952 - 1955

Piet Kee is appointed organist at the St. Laurence Church in Alkmaar. In 1953, 1954, and 1955, he wins the Haarlem International Organ Improvisation Competition and is permanently awarded the legendary Silver Tulip trophy. In 1954 he becomes the organ teacher at the Muzieklyceum in Amsterdam.

1956

The city of Haarlem names Piet Kee city organist at the St Bavo Cathedral.

1960

In London, Piet Kee is awarded the Bach Medal of the Harriet Cohen Foundation.

1986

Piet Kee resigns as organist at the St. Laurence Church in Alkmaar.

1988

The Royal College of Organists in London awards Piet Kee – together with Olivier Messiaen – the Fellowship Honoris Causa.

1989

Piet Kee begins recording a series of CDs for the Chandos label with music by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Johann Pachelbel, Nicolaus Bruhns, Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johann Gottfried Walther, Felix Mendelssohn, César Franck, Jehan Alain, Max Reger, Paul Hindemith, Hendrik Andriessen, Olivier Messiaen, and others. He performs in these recordings on various celebrated European organs, including those of the St. Bavo Cathedral in Haarlem, St. Laurence Church in Alkmaar, Roskilde Cathedral in Denmark, Basilika St. Martin in Weingarten, and St. Martin’s Church in Groningen.

Hendrik Andriessen Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck

1990

Jos de Kooij succeeds Piet Kee as the city organist of Haarlem. De Kooij has studied with Kee at the Amsterdam Conservatory for 10 years. De Kooij says of his teacher: “He taught me a sort of ethic of music-making. Playing the organ isn’t something you simply do. It requires thought. You have a responsibility to the composition you are interpreting, to the audience you play for.”

1995 - 1996

The British newspaper The Independent has the headline “Kee still in good shape” after a performance at Westminster Cathedral in London. Piet Kee’s composition 'Network' receives its Dutch premiere at Amsterdam’s West Church as part of Haarlem’s International Organ Festival. The piece, commissioned by the English Incorporated Association of Organists, is scored for the unorthodox ensemble of a large and a small organ, electronic keyboard, and alto saxophone.

2007

In honour of Piet Kee’s 80th birthday, a carillon concert is given in Haarlem with works by Albert de Klerk, Cor Kee, Juriaan Andriessen, and others. Kee is a critic of historicism: “I have no objection to the age of an artwork, but to the way historicism treats it. [...] First of all, I cannot see the point of looking to the past, seeking a point of reference for my own work. Second, excessive attention to historical objects leads to affectation.”

2009

Piet Kee’s 'Performance', for alto saxophone and organ, is premiered in Amsterdam’s Organ Park by Leo van Doeselaar, organ, and Arno Bornkamp. Kee writes of the piece: “The saxophone – certainly the alto saxophone – is in my opinion an ideal instrument in conjunction with the organ. As it never appears as an organ register, or only very sporadically, it can beautifully contrast; its tone production is very flexible and its dyamic range exceptionally large. After having used the instrument in various pieces, for instance the 'Haarlem Concerto' (2006) and the spatial composition 'Network' (1996), I considered the sax in this piece the only instrument – a formidable one – to use opposite the organ.”

Discography Piet Kee

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 Piet Kee

Audio/Video Piet Kee

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