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WILLEM FREDERIK BON

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Willem Frederik Bon

Period

15-06-1940 - 14-04-1983

Genre

componist, contemporary classical music, dirigent

Willem Frederik Bon

Willem Frederik Bon is a conductor, composer and composition teacher. His music, which shows the influence of French Impressionism, has a modern but not atonal style. “The blend of neoclassicism and expressionism in a largely concise, typically Dutch compressed form that is never explicitly extroverted, is in line with the ...
Full biography

Instruments

componist, dirigent

Mentioned in the biography of

1940   Maarten Bon
1952   Lowell Dykstra
1953   Liuwe Tamminga
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Biography Willem Frederik Bon

Willem Frederik Bon is a conductor, composer and composition teacher. His music, which shows the influence of French Impressionism, has a modern but not atonal style. “The blend of neoclassicism and expressionism in a largely concise, typically Dutch compressed form that is never explicitly extroverted, is in line with the tradition of Pijper, Badings and Orthèl. The not infrequently alternating moods yield a searching, indefinable quality, philosophical, perhaps, if not melancholic.” (Ernst Vermeulen). From the Culture Ministry, the city of Amsterdam, and the Buma Association cultural fund, he receives commissions for orchestral, film and chamber music. He also composes music for children.

1940 - 1967

Willem Frederik Bon is born on June 15, 1940, in Amersfoort, the fourth child in a musical family. His older brother Maarten is a concert pianist, as is his sister Marja, and his sister Charlotte is a violinist. Bon first studies the clarinet with Bram de Wilde in Amsterdam. At the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he studies composition with Kees van Baaren and orchestral conducting with Louis Stotijn and Willem van Otterloo.

Charlotte Bon Kees van Baaren Maarten Bon Willem van Otterloo

1967

Bon is awarded the Visser Neerlandia Prize for his 'First Wind Quintet' (1966). 'Miniaturen', for piano (1966), are, according to the music critic Maarten Brandt, “a sort of late, but convincing, Dutch rival to Schoenberg’s 'Sechs Kleine Klavierstücke', opus 19 [...] exceedingly compressed, hyper-expressive and rich music that makes it all the more incomprehensible that this composer does not grace concert programmes more often”.

1970

Bon’s first symphony, the 'Usher Symphony', a work originally conceived as an opera, is premiered at the Holland Festival. It is inspired by a story by Edgar Allen Poe. About the 'Petite Trilogie', for trumpet, written this year, a reviewer writes: “A year younger than Louis Andriessen, Bon, the brother of the pianist and Stravinsky arranger Maarten Bon, remains faithful to the symphony orchestra, in contrast to the Nutcrackers. Every note is on target in the unparalleled trilogy for trumpet, in which Bon winks at Gershwin’s 'Summertime'. [...] Icily exciting, sometimes macabre, is the overwhelming piano trio.” (Huib Ramaer) For the orchestral piece 'Games', he receives the Youth and Music Prize.

1971

Since 1967, Willem Frederik Bon has followed various conducting courses in the Netherlands and abroad, those with Milan Horvat, Jean Fournet, Dean Dixon and Herbert von Karajan having great significance for him. For his final exam at the conservatory, he conducts the premiere of his 'Symfonie no. 2, Les prédictions' (1970). He receives the Composition Prize from the Culture Ministry and begins teaching composition at the Groningen Conservatory.

1972 - 1975

Willem Frederik Bon becomes the conductor of the Amsterdam Sinfonietta chamber orchestra. In 1973 he becomes assistant conductor of the Concertgebouw Orchestra and a guest conductor with various Dutch orchestras. Also, he focuses on concerts specially aimed at young people.

Amsterdam Sinfonietta Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest

1976 - 1979

Bon composes his largest work: 'Les quatre saisons de Verlaine', for soprano, mezzo soprano, tenor, baritone and orchestra. In 1977, he becomes the conductor of two Norwegian orchestras.

1979

The best-known consequence of his interest in music for youths appears: Willem Frederik Bon sets Godfried Bomans’ book 'Erik, of het kleine insectenboek' [Erik, or the Little Insect Book] to music. The characters are portrayed by instruments and themes, Erik’s theme by the oboe, the snail’s by a sluggish tuba, and the fluttering butterfly motif by a flute and piccolo.

1983

Willem Frederik Bon dies of a brain tumour in Nijeholtpade (Friesland) on April 14.

1986

After his death, several of his works are premiered, including the 'Requiem' (1967), for choir and string orchestra, dedicated to the victims of World War II. His brother Maarten Bon completes the unfinished 'Concertino for Piano and Orchestra', from 1964.

Discography Willem Frederik Bon

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 Willem Frederik Bon

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