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Hans Kox (Bron: officiële website)


19-05-1930 - 25-02-2019


31 tone music, componist, contemporary classical music


Officiële website

Hans Kox

Hans Kox is born to a musical family. He makes his debut at the Gaudeamus Music Week while still a composition student with both a string trio and a piano sonata. After 15 years as the director of the Doetinchem Music School, he moves to Haarlem, where he works as ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1974   Rob du Bois
1982   Carlos Micháns
1991   Hexagon Ensemble

Biography Hans Kox

Hans Kox is born to a musical family. He makes his debut at the Gaudeamus Music Week while still a composition student with both a string trio and a piano sonata. After 15 years as the director of the Doetinchem Music School, he moves to Haarlem, where he works as an advisor to the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1984, he devotes himself entirely to composing. To that end, he seclude himself, for “Composing is simply the loneliest profession on earth. I knew that when I got started, and, actually, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” In more than 50 years, Kox completed about 150 compositions.


Hans Kox is born in Arnhem on May 19.

1946 - 1948

He studies first with his father, an organist and choral conductor. Kox then begins studying at the Utrecht Conservatory. After two years, he transfers to study the piano with Jaap Spaanderman in Amsterdam.


Henk Badings, whose craftsmanship Kox admires, accepts him as a composition student, and prepares him for a national accreditation examination.

Henk Badings

1953 - 1954

Kox submits two compositions to the Gaudeamus Music Week in Bilthoven. His music bears no message or intention. He says: “I have no wish to convey anything philosophical with my music. It is simply music, sound, with everything that entails. Music is itself, and if it imparts something, it is not because of me.” At the International Organ Competition in Haarlem, the 'Prelude and Fugue' (1954) win 3rd Prize.

1955 - 1956

Kox completes his studies with Henk Badings. He finishes the 'Little Lethe Symphony' (1956) for youth orchestra. He is named director of the Doetinchem Music School. Kox receives two prizes this year: the Cultural Prize of the City of Arnhem and the Music Prize of the City of Amsterdam.

1957 - 1959

On a commission from the Concertgebouw Orchestra, to honour Eduard van Beinum’s 25 years of conducting, Kox composes 'Concertante Muziek', for French horn, trumpet, trombone and orchestra. He receives the Visser-Neerlandia Prize for his 'First Symphony' (1959).

Eduard van Beinum


Kox composes a third work – 'Four Pieces for String Quartet' – in 31-tone temperament, a tuning system developed in the 17th century by Christiaan Huygens. His previous 31-tone pieces are 'Passacaglia and Chorale' (1960), for organ, and 'Three Pieces' (1958), for violin.


Hans Kox finishes the 'Second Symphony'. Though he has always been gripped by the symphonic language of Gustav Mahler, he frees himself of its influence to gain more structural freedom. He also experiments with unusual timbral effects.


Kox writes 'In Those Days', for two mixed choirs and orchestra, and conducts the premiere. On May 4, Remembrance Day, a video of the performance is shown on Dutch television.


Following the example of György Ligeti, Hans Kox turns to the new techniques in the orchestral piece 'Phobos'. The television recording of 'In Those Days' receives the Prix Italia. Kox moves to Haarlem and becomes an advisor to the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra.


In 'Six One-Act Plays', Kox continues his exploration of new forms and timbres. He completes 'Requiem for Europe', for four mixed choirs, two organs and orchestra.


Kox begins work on the opera 'Dorian Gray', using his own libretto based on the novel by Oscar Wilde.


Hans Kox begins teaching composition at the Utrecht Conservatory. He is awarded 1st Prize at the Rostrum of Composers for 'L’Allegria' (1967), for soprano and orchestra.

1983 - 1984

'Irold’s Youth', for orchestra, is written for the 50th anniversary of Amsterdam’s 'Con Brio' student symphony orchestra. Kox resigns from his teaching position at the Utrecht Conservatory.


The Anne Frank Cantata (A Child of Light) is premiered on May 4. Kox completes the Amsterdam Cantata and his Third Symphony. The mottos of these come from the Bible’s Book of Isaiah.


Hans Kox composes the required performance piece for the International Music Competition in Scheveningen, 'Le songe du Vergier', for cello and orchestra.

1989 - 1991

The oratorio 'Shoah', commissioned by the NCRV broadcasting company in honour of its 65th anniversary, is premiered on November 17. The opera 'Das Grüne Gesicht' is finished after ten years.

1995 - 1998

'Das Credo quia absurdum' (1995) is one of Kox’s compositions on the theme of the persecution of Jews in the 20th century. In 1998, he completes 'Das Lied des Exils', for oboe and orchestra.


The chamber opera 'Rochester’s Second Bottle' is premiered in Birmingham in March.


Kox’s 75th birthday is celebrated with various concerts and premieres. On a commission from De Doelen concert hall, he composes his 'Fourth Violin Concerto' for the British violinist Daniel Hope and the Rotterdam Chamber Orchestra. At the premiere on May 26 Bas van Putten’s biography (published by Contact) 'Hoog spel: Het levensverhaal van componist Hans Kox' is presented.


On April 25, the premiere is given in Utrecht of 'Those Evenings of the Brain' for soprano and orchestra, on poems by Emily Dickinson.


Hans Kox receives the Merit Pin from the City of Haarlem. The presentation is at the Philharmonie concert hall after a musical hommage to the composer who has turned 80.


The premiere (concertant performance) of the opera 'Das grüne Gesicht' (1991) at the Holland Festival 2012 is cancelled by the Hague Philharmonic Orchestra in favour of a concert at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York.


The one act play ´'Lalage’s Monoloques', for soprano, violin and piano - based on a text by Edgar Allan Poe - , is premiered on March 31 at the Cruqius Museum in Haarlemmermeer.

Discography Hans Kox

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 Hans Kox

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