Jan Stoeckart (3 November 1927, Amsterdam – 13 January 2017) was a Dutch composer, conductor, trombonist and former radio producer, who often worked under various pseudonyms such as Willy Faust, Peter Milray, Julius Steffaro and Jack Trombey. In the UK he is best known for his composition Eye Level, the theme tune to the ITV series Van der Valk, which was a number one on the UK singles chart in 1973. He also composed "Homeward Bound", a theme from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), under the pseudonym Jack Trombey.
Life and Works
Jan Stoeckart took piano and trombone lessons from the age of 12. After graduating from the Amsterdam Conservatory in 1950, he began his career as a professional musician (trombone and double bass) and conductor in various Dutch orchestras, including orchestras operated by Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
In 1974, he moved on to become a freelance composer for NOS and other Dutch public broadcasters. He also worked as a music producer for various radio shows, with which he popularised brass and choral music. He also continued to compose and arrange music for Dutch films and for brass bands. He worked with the Metropole Orchestra and the Dutch Promenade Orchestra.
In the early 1960s, his conductor Hugo de Groot took him to London music publisher De Wolfe Music Ltd, where he signed a contract to compose stock and library music. He did so under various guises, such as Wily Faust, Jack Trombey and Peter Milray. He composed approximately 1200-1300 works for De Wolfe.
He died on 13 January 2017 at the age of 89.
His biggest success proved to be Eye Level, the theme tune to the Van der Valk TV series from the early 1970s. ITV had picked the tune, which Stoeckart had written a few years earlier, from the De Wolfe catalogue. The tune, loosely based on a German/Dutch nursery rhyme called 'Jan Hinnerk' in German, and 'Catootje' in Dutch, from the 18th century, became an instant hit with viewers and record buyers, as the recording - made by the Simon Park Orchestra - climbed to number one on the UK singles chart in 1973. The original title of the melody was 'Amsterdam'. 'Eye Level' refers to the ever-present horizon in the Low Countries, which is always "at eye level to the beholder".
- Girl in the dark (as Jack Trombey for the De Wolfe catalogue) used for the UK TV espionage series Callan
- Floris - the popular Dutch TV series set in medieval times (1969)
- Het Simplisties Verbond ("The Simplistic Association") - Dutch satirical TV show
- Domino - the ITV sitcom Never the Twain
- Trombones On Parade - ITV's Junior Showtime.
- Horizontal Hold (as Jack Trombey for the De Wolfe catalogue) used by NFL Films and as the theme for CBS Sports' The NFL Today pre game show from the mid-1970s to the early-1980s. CBS later used alternate arrangements of the song from the mid-1980s to late-1990s.
- Pancho - used by the Italian network RAI as the theme for "90° Minuto" (90th minute), a show dedicated to Serie A highlights
- Dusk - (as Jack Trombey for the De Wolfe catalogue) Dusk is part of Firaxis Games's Civilization V (2010).
- ‘’Project in Operation’’ used by Australian television Production Company, Crawfords, for the television Series Matlock Police (1971–76), (as Jack Trombey for the De Wolfe catalogue)
- Sinterklaas based on the Dutch version of Santa Claus.
- Biography of Jan Stoeckart (in Dutch)
- Radio Netherlands Worldwide programme with Jan Stoeckart (1973)
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 417. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.