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SEM DRESDEN

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Portret Sem Dresden

Period

20-04-1881 - 30-07-1957

Genre

classical, componist, dirigent

Sem Dresden

Sem Dresden engaged in many activities in addition to composing: he is a teacher, music critic, organiser and conductor, working in each capacity to propagate new(er) music. He is chairman of the National Commission for Music Education and of the music division of the Council for the Arts; he is ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist, dirigent

Mentioned in the biography of

1900   Cor Kee
1900   Leo Smit
1901   Benedict Silberman
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Biography Sem Dresden

Sem Dresden engaged in many activities in addition to composing: he is a teacher, music critic, organiser and conductor, working in each capacity to propagate new(er) music. He is chairman of the National Commission for Music Education and of the music division of the Council for the Arts; he is a board member of the Netherlands Opera, chairman of the Pijper Fund, and a member of the Diepenbrock Fund. His later compositions make no secret of his conversion to Roman Catholicism. His music bears little direct relation to the work of his teachers, but shows the clear influence of the French impressionists Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. “In this, he stood in agreement with the young Pijper of circa 1920, with the late Diepenbrock, but he maintained nonetheless his own originality. (...) He directed his efforts toward a synthesis of tradition and innovation.” (J. van der Veen)

1900 - 1903

Sem Dresden (born April 20, 1881, in Amsterdam) studies the violin and piano with Richard Hageman, the violin with Johannes Dudok and Felice Togni, harmony with Fred Roeske, and counterpoint, the fugue and composition with Bernard Zweers.

Bernard Zweers

1903 - 1905

While Dresden studies composition and orchestral conducting in Berlin, his teacher Hans Pfitzner rouses his interest in the “impressionistic” idiom of Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel. At Pfitzner’s request, Dresden stays in Germany for two years to work as an opera conductor.

1905 - 1914

Sem Dresden is conductor at Laren, Amsterdam and Tiel. He is manager of the Maatschappij tot Bevordering der Toonkunst (Society for the Promotion of Music). His interest in vocal music grows stronger through his marriage in 1907 to the contralto Jacoba Dhont.

1914

Sem Dresden founds The Madrigal Society, an a cappella choir that specialises in Renaissance music.

1918

Dresden writes for the papers De Amsterdammer and De Telegraaf. His alert, progressive articles greatly influence Dutch musical life.

1919 - 1924

Sem Dresden is named head of the composition department at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Among his students are Leo Smit, Eduard van Beinum, and Willem van Otterloo. Five years later, he succeeds Julius Röntgen as director. In 1923, he publishes his book 'Het muziekleven in Nederland sinds 1880' [Musical Life in the Netherlands since 1880].

Eduard van Beinum Leo Smit Willem van Otterloo

1931

Dresden prepares a thoroughly revised edition of J. Worp and S. Van Milligen’s 'Algemene Muziekleer' [General Music Theory] that long serves as the standard textbook.

1937 - 1945

Dresden follows Johan Wagenaar as director of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Three years later he is removed from the position by the German occupying forces. He continues to compose while in hiding. After the war, he is restored to the position and remains in it until retirement.

1947

Dresden lectures, for example in the United States, on contemporary Dutch composers.

1948 - 1953

As director of the Youth and Music foundation,Sem Dresden strives to introduce classical music to young people. In 1953, his book 'Stromingen en Tegenstromingen in de Muziek' [Currents and Countercurrents in Music] is published by Bohn in Haarlem.

1957

Sem Dresden dies on July 30 in The Hague.

1958

Sem Dresden's last work, the opera 'François Villon', to his own libretto, is premiered at the Holland Festival. His student Jan Mul completes the orchestration.

Jan Mul

Discography Sem Dresden

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 Sem Dresden

Audio/Video Sem Dresden

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