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01-09-1930 - 04-09-2013


componist, contemporary classical music, electronic mucic and computer music, music theatre


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Kid Baltan

Dick Raaijmakers

Dick Raaijmakers' music distances itself in many ways from the norm. It is not written in standard music notation, nor does it lend itself to that. Raaijmakers often reduces the material to the very minimum, and even the concept of the artwork preserved for posterity is foreign to his thinking.
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Mentioned in the biography of

1956   Henk Badings
1956   Klaus Kuiper
1963   Jan Boerman
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Biography Dick Raaijmakers

Dick Raaijmakers' music distances itself in many ways from the norm. It is not written in standard music notation, nor does it lend itself to that. Raaijmakers often reduces the material to the very minimum, and even the concept of the artwork preserved for posterity is foreign to his thinking. “My music theatre pieces never have more than a few performances. Often, it's just one, and you would just have to be there by chance, because after that single showing, they're gone,” he said in a 1982 interview with Johanneke van Slooten. “I'm terrified of my work being repeated and through that becoming absorbed into traditional art forms.” Raaijmaker's work transcends disciplines and occupies a place on the border between art and technology, the visual arts, theatre and music, and thought and rendering. He is one of the pioneers of electronic music in the Netherlands and is known particularly as the maker of striking music theatre works. As a teacher at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he greatly influenced a number of musicians, composers and theatre makers.


Bernardus Franciscus (Dick) Raaijmakers is born in Maastricht on September 1.

1947 - 1953

He studies the piano at the Tilburg Conservatory and then the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In 1953, he graduates with a degree in piano teaching.


He goes to work at Philips in Eindhoven. Two years later, he joins the staff of Philips' Physics Laboratory and assists the composers working there: Henk Badings, Ton de Leeuw, Tom Dissevelt, Rudolf Escher and Dr. A.D. Fokker.


Under the pseudonym Kid Baltan, he composes 'Song of the Second Moon', the world's first popular electronic piece.


He composes 'Tweeklank' [Interval], an electronic piece that wins him the City of Eindhoven's encouragement prize for young artists.

1960 - 1962

Raaijmakers creates 'Pianoforte', an electronic piece based on the sounds of the mechanisms of a piano. The Philips studio is taken over by Utrecht University and Raaijmakers is named a research assistant, a position he holds until 1962.

1963 - 1964

Raaijmakers and Jan Boerman set up a private electronic studio in The Hague. Raaijmakers composes 'Canon I and II', the beginning of a five-part series of pieces. He says in an interview in 2000: “What interested me was the methodical manner of literally composing musical material by electronic means. To do that, I brought the material to the furthest degree of abstraction. In a certain sense, I went further in that than anybody: What you ultimately heard was the crackling of innumerable pulses. That became 'Five Canons'.”


He begins teaching electronic music at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He creates his first music theatre production, 'The Art of Opening an Exhibition'.


With Peter Schat, Konrad Boehmer, Jan van Vlijmen, Misha Mengelberg, Louis Andriessen and Reinbert de Leeuw, he co-founds STEIM, a workshop for live electro-instrumental music in Amsterdam.

1970 - 1971

He is the co-founder of 'Het Leven' [Life], an electro-instrumental improvisation group of students and teachers at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. His work is presented at the 'Geluid <=> Kijken' [Sound <=> Looking] exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.


He creates the music theatre piece 'De grafische methode tractor' [The Graphic Method Tractor]. The work shows in slow motion 27 frames from Sergei Eisensteins film 'The General Line' (1928) while a music box plays 'The Internationale' slowed 100 times.


Raaijmakers makes 'De grafische methode fiets' [The Graphic Method Bicycle], inspired by the work of the photographer E.J. Marey, in which over the course of a half hour a man mounts a bicycle while sensors make his heartbeat, blood circulation and breathing audible.


Raaijmakers is the central composer in the 1984 Holland Festival. Six pieces from the Soundman cycle are performed:'Shhh!', 'Ow!', 'The Microman', 'The Soundwall', 'Come On!', and 'The Soundmen'. Each of these music theatre pieces is inspired by the Laurel and Hardy film 'Night Owls'. “Falling” becomes a central concept in Raaijmakers' thinking.


Raaijmakers book 'De Methode' is published. He receives the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for the music theatre piece 'Extase' [Ecstasy, 1984].


He helps establish the Interfaculty Image and Sound at the Royal Conservatory.


Raaijmakers wins the Fund for the Visual Arts, Design and Architecture's Oeuvre Prize. He creates 'Intona', a performance in which 12 microphones are destroyed in various ways.

1993 - 1994

He creates several music theatre pieces, including 'Die glückliche Hand geöffnet' and 'Der Fall/Dépons', offering commentary on the work of Arnold Schoenberg and Pierre Boulez, respectively. He is awarded the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for the two works.


Raaijmakers resigns as an electronic music teacher at the Royal Conservatory. He is the central person at the 'Festival in de Branding' in The Hague. He completes a number of mostly large-scale collective music theatre works: 'Der Stein' [The Stone], 'De val van Mussolini' [The Fall of Mussolini], 'Scheuer im Haag' [Scheuer in The Hague] and 'Hermans Hand'. The City of The Hague awards him the Ouborg Prize for his contribution to the visual arts in the Netherlands.


Donemus/NEAR releases the CD box set 'The Complete Tape Music of Dick Raaijmakers'.


'Popular Electronics', a CD box set dedicated to the early years of electronic music in the Netherlands, including various works by Raaijmakers, is released by the Basta label. The NPS broadcasts 'Op zoek naar een vergeten toepassing' [In Search of a Forgotten Application], a documentary by Jacqueline Oskamp about Raaijmakers and his work.


Raaijmakers receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Leiden and is awarded the Johan Wagenaar Prize for his complete oeuvre.


'Dick Raaijmakers Monografie' is published, a more than 500 page book with detailed descriptions of his works.

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 Dick Raaijmakers

Audio/Video Dick Raaijmakers

Video Dick Raaijmakers

Dick Raaijmakers - Het kl...
Dick Raaijmakers - Het kleinste geluid (deel 1)
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Dick Raaijmakers - Het kleinste geluid (deel 1)

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