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henk badings


17-01-1907 - 26-06-1987


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

Henk Badings

Henk Badings is one of the great composers of the twentieth century, according to the musicologist Leo Samama. Samama describes him as “a versatile artist who apparently could effortlessly go from serious concert music to the style of the large American ‘wind bands’, from electronic music to educational collections, from ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1907   Felix de Nobel
1913   Jan Masséus
1936   Luctor Ponse
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Biography Henk Badings

Henk Badings is one of the great composers of the twentieth century, according to the musicologist Leo Samama. Samama describes him as “a versatile artist who apparently could effortlessly go from serious concert music to the style of the large American ‘wind bands’, from electronic music to educational collections, from lengthy and dramatic choral pieces to music for amateur orchestras. His musical style, lyrical and sombre, heroic and exuberant, dramatic and effective, is everywhere evident and marks each score as his. The music Badings wrote between 1930 and 1960 is of international allure. But also his later works are loved, especially in the United States, and bear witness to unbridled energy and spiritual power.” (Leo Samama, 1986) Badings oeuvre ranges from opera to electronic music and from film music to 14 symphonies, pieces for wind orchestra and for chamber ensembles. Though he was an innovator, his style is characterized by a penchant for classical traits: melody, harmony and rhythm remain recognizable and guiding forces. In addition, he often used germ cell technique. Badings received prestigious commissions, including those for the hundredth anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic and the sixtieth of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Many of his compositions won awards in the Netherlands and abroad. In addition to composing, Badings taught and lectured, was a jury member in competitions, and published several books.


Hendrik Herman (Henk) Badings is born in Bandung, Java, in the Dutch East Indies on January 17.

1915 - 1920

Badings comes as an orphan to the Netherlands, where he is placed under severe guardianship. He attends primary and secondary school in Gorinchem and takes violin lessons with Ch. de la Rosière. Badings is an excellent student who shows not only musicality, but also talent in the visual arts, poetry and mathematics. At age 12, he writes his first violin sonata.

1925 - 1931

Badings studies mining at the Academy of Technology in Delft. He has taught himself to compose and has his first success on September 27, 1931, when his 'First Cello Concerto' (1930) is performed at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw by Henk van Wezel, cello, and the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Eduard van Beinum.

Eduard van Beinum

1931 - 1934

Upon completing his study of mining engineering, Badings works for several years as a research assistant in historical geology and palaeontology at the Academy of Technology in Delft. Simultaneously, he begins taking composition lessons with Willem Pijper. After a while, he decides to dedicate himself to music.

Willem Pijper


Though he has had no formal musical training, aside from the lessons with Pijper, on the strength of his 'Cello Concerto' and 'Violin Sonata', which have already established his international reputation, he is appointed to teach composition at the Muzieklyceum in Amsterdam and the Rotterdam Conservatory. His 'Third Symphony' is premiered during the Netherlands Music Festival in Amsterdam.

1936 - 1940

Badings publishes the book 'De Hedendaagse Nederlandse Toonkunst' [Contemporary Dutch Music, 1936]. For the Joost van den Vondel commemoration, he writes incidental music for 'Gijsbrecht van Aemstel' (1937). In 1938, he is named director of the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum.

1941 - 1945

After the forced departure of Sem Dresden during the occupation, Badings serves for a time as director of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He is also a member of the Netherlands Culture Council.

1945 - 1947

Because he served on the Culture Council, Henk Badings is barred from working in music when the war ends, but in 1947 the ban is lifted.

1949 - 1951

Badings is made an honorary member of the Flemish Academy of Science, Literature and Visual Art in Brussels. His 'Ballad for Orchestra' (1950) receives an award from Radio Netherlands International, and his 'Suite No. 2' for carillon (1950) is awarded the Jef Denijn Prize in Mechelen. Badings publishes his book 'Tonaliteitsproblemen in de Nieuwe Muziek' [Tonality Problems in New Music, 1951]. His six-piece choral work 'Java en Poèmes', on text by Alla Baud (1940), published under the title 'Six Images' by Editions Françaises de Musique, and the 'Trois Ballades' for women’s choir win an award from Radiodiffusion Française.


Badings begins teaching composition at the International Organ Academy in Haarlem. His radio opera 'Orestes' (1954) wins the Prix Italia.

1956 - 1960

After the war, Henk Badings turns his attention to electronic music. He works with pioneers such as Dick Raaijmakers and Tom Dissevelt in Philips Physics Laboratory and researches electronic sound generators and the relationship between tempo and tone duration, for which he also uses a computer. With the help of electronic aids, he experiments with the 31-tone system, in which the octave is divided into 31 tones. He composes various pieces for the 31-tone organ, the so-called Fokker organ, which Adriaan Fokker had had built in Haarlem. Badings’ electronic opera 'Salto Mortale' (1959) receives an award at the music festival in Salzburg. The 'Concerto' (1954), for two violins and orchestra, commissioned by the Johan Wagenaar Foundation and dedicated to Herman Krebbers and Theo Olof, is chosen for UNESCO’s Rostrum of Composers 1959.

Dick Raaijmakers Herman Krebbers Theo Olof

1961 - 1963

Badings begins teaching acoustics and computer science at Utrecht University. In 1962, he is appointed professor of composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Stuttgart, Germany. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Adelaide, Australia, and the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

1964 - 1967

The 'Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra' (1964) receives the Premio Marzotto in Venice. In 1965, the city of New Martinsville, West Virginia, makes Badings an honorary citizen. He also is awarded the Medaille Arts-Sciences-Lettres of the Académie Française, and in 1967, the Johan Wagenaar Prize.


Henk Badings is awarded the Sweelinck Prize for his entire oeuvre.


On December 9, at the Wind Festival in Weert, 'Figures Sonores' is premiered by the Royal Wind Band of Thorn, conducted by Jan Cober. Badings is awarded the Netherlands Wind Music Prize.


Henk Badings dies on June 26, at age 80 in Hugten near Maarheeze.

Discography Henk Badings

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.

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