A few arrangements for several combinations of instruments and voices, mainly as exercises, several still unfinished (probably forever...); a few original compositions for a small number of instruments; one bigger three-part piece for amateur orchestra (here is a MIDI file of the second part).
This is an MP3 file of a live recording of a small choir piece I wrote for my wife Anneke on the occasion of our wedding on 3 March 2000 in the Dom church in Utrecht. It was conducted by Niels Kuijers, sung by an ad hoc choir of friends and recorded by Geert de Vos. This is the "Dutch" text of the piece (by Okke Jager):
Verraadt ons aller angst zich niet
In wie het leven weerloos liet?
De glasglans stemt de blazer mild.
De kaarsvlam vormt de hand tot schild.
De krokus wijst beton haar grens.
Hoe kostbaar is een kwetsbaar mens.
(Approximate English translation:
Doesn’t the fear of us all show
In those whom life has left defenseless?
The glas’s glow softens the blower.
The candle’s flame shapes the hand into a shield.
The crocus shows concrete its limit.
How precious a vulnerable human is.)
Born in Schinnen (The Netherlands), a village in the south of the province of Limburg not too far from Maastricht, which is the capital of this province. This most beautiful part of The Netherlands is one of the few places in that country that are not flat! It has hills! When 7 years old, I had my first piano lessons. (But I had been playing that instrument before; I possess an authentic tape recording of me playing the piano aged 1, singing simultaneously! The musical style is somewhat undetermined, but definitely very modern.)
In 1969 our family moved to the nearby village of Treebeek to a house almost opposite a coal mine. This was the "Staatsmijn Emma". Aged 10 I suddenly decided to stop taking piano lessons (was this the end of my musical career?). I visited high school in the adjacent town of Hoensbroek (first HAVO and then Atheneum-b). Somewhere half-way the seventies I apparently started to miss playing the piano, because I started to play again all the old pieces I once studied for my lessons, and even bought some new piano books (mainly Mozart).
In 1979 I moved to Utrecht, in the centre of our country, to study astronomy at The Utrecht University. It took me nine years and three months to finish that study! But I finished it! One of the reasons it took me so long, apart from the fact that I am not a genius, is that I increased my musical activities. Apart from playing the piano I now also discovered singing! My "career" as a (bass) singer started in the USKO (Utrecht Student Choir and Orchestra), which mainly perform Bach (first part of the year) and other large classical pieces for choir and orchestra (rest of the year). I joined a close-harmony/jazz choir, took singing lessons, and became more and more involved in all kinds of singing activities. Then, all of a sudden I decided that I should play the clarinet. A good friend of mine, who had a spare clarinet and who was willing to teach me play the instrument in exchange of one free meal per lesson, then introduced me to the art of blowing a reed ("lip my reeds"). After my study it took me some time to find a job. That is when I started following theory lessons in music for a conservatory exam. I had the idea that maybe I could make (part) of my living with singing (I still had singing lessons). But then I got a proper job, which signaled the end of my (professional) musical ambitions. I did finish my theory lessons, though, even passed the exams as best of the class!
From November 1991 till 2005 I had a nine-to-five job in Amsterdam (I still lived in Utrecht, which is about 45 km south of Amsterdam). Till April 1997 I worked as a Copy Editor at Elsevier Science, largest publisher of scientific journals in the world. The journal I worked for was "Physics Letters A". We are getting more and more involved in electronic publishing, and nowadays editing is done mainly on a computer, using a tool called LaTeX (or TeX). From May 1997 I work for the same company as an "Electronic Product Engineer", later also with a coordinating role, doing mainly things like produce and maintain Internet pages, and related electronic products.
In 2005 I stopped working with Elsevier and started my own company, called Quixote, with which I try to make a living with the Classical Composers Database and also doing other things related to electronic publishing and (classical) music.
Maybe now you understand why somebody like me, with interest in music, editing, and computers, starts a project like this on the Internet. I am just still looking for the link with astronomy... (I found that link now: this composer’s name means star!)
- The Netherlands, Schinnen, Wolfhagen 28 — 17 May 1960