Marcel Poot

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Marcel Poot (7 May 1901 in Vilvoorde, Belgium – 12 June 1988 in Brussels) was a Belgian composer, professor, and musician. His father, Jan Poot, was Director of the Vlaamse Schouwburg [nl](Flemish Theatre) in Brussels.


Born to the director (at the time) of the Royal Flemish Theatre in Brussels, Poot, although pressured to go into music from an early age by his father, was not particularly apt at the art. The following autobiographical information has been contributed by Poot himself: "Although I was very mediocre, I began studying music at an early age. My father had me join the clarinetists of a local band in which he was saxophonist. Less apt than my young friends, I soon had to give up this position. From then on dates my unpopularity in Vilvorde. My father, however was determined to make me a musician. We then tried the piano. The town organist, Gerard Nauwelaerts, taught me scales and the Czerny exercises. This did not amuse me at all. But the laborious study continued until I was able to play with my professor overtures by Suppe arranged for four hands. My father then decided to enroll me at the Brussels Conservatory. The first time I was turned down. But another period of work with Czerny, and I was finally admitted."[1]

At the Brussels Conservatory, Poot studied composition and instrumentation with Arthur De Greef, José Sevenans, Martin Lunssens, Lodewijk Mortelmans, and Paul Gilson. He also attended the Antwerp Conservatory and furthered his education with Paul Dukas at the École Normale de Musique de Paris.

After completing his studies, Poot worked firstly as a music teacher, reviewer, and freelance composer. In 1925, he and several other former students of Gilson's formed a group of musicians called Les Synthétistes, who styled themselves as a Belgian equivalent of The Mighty Five in Russia and Les Six in France. Through the group, they hoped to combine their strength and inject dynamism into an otherwise conservative Belgian musical scene, through the composition of solid contemporary pieces. Other composers who joined Les Synthétistes were René Bernier, Francis de Bourguignon, Théo De Joncker, Maurice Schoemaker, Jules Strens, and Robert Otlet.

Poot was an active music commentator for fifteen years, finding a principal outlet in the magazine he co-founded with Gilson, La Revue Musicale belge. He also contributed to Le Peuple.

In 1934, Poot seemed to achieve fame outside Belgium almost spontaneously after completing his Ouverture joyeuse (Joyful Overture), a work dedicated to his former teacher Paul Dukas. He also composed a substantial wind and brass oeuvre which is often played and performed by students and professionals alike.

In 1939, Poot was appointed a Lecturer at the Brussels Conservatory, and later became Professor of counterpoint and harmony, before succeeding Léon Jongen as Director in 1949 and holding the post until 1966.

In 1960, Poot founded the Union of Belgian Composers and became its first president.

From 1963 to 1980, Poot chaired the jury of the international Queen Elisabeth Music Competition and wrote several commissioned works to mark the occasion, one of them being the "Concerto for Piano & Orchestra." originally composed in 1959. It is rarely performed but recently received an American performance in 2007 by the Valley Symphony Orchestra (LAVC) and pianist Neil Galanter.[2]

He also served as the director of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel between 1969 and 1976. He was elected to the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.


  1. ^ David., Ewen, (1971). Composers since 1900. Wilson. ISBN 082420400X. OCLC 311440363.
  2. ^ "Valley Symphony Orchestra 07-08 season First Subscription Concert, Neil Galanter, guest pianist". Calendar listing. Archived from the original on 2013-02-10. Retrieved 2007-10-16.

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