Rudi Martinus van Dijk

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Rudi Martinus van Dijk (27 March 1932, Culemborg, Gelderland – 29 November 2003) was a Dutch Canadian composer of classical orchestral, chamber and vocal music, often featuring violin or piano.

He studied with Hendrik Andriessen and Leon Orthel at the Royal Conservatory of Music in the Hague and first came to the fore as a composer at the age of 19 when his Sonatine for piano was performed at the International Gaudeamus Music week. Van Dijk emigrated to Canada in 1953 and two years later became a pupil of the American composer Roy Harris. The Canada Council of the Arts enabled him to further his studies in Paris with Max Deutsch, a pupil of Arnold Schoenberg, while concluding his piano studies with Kendall Taylor in London. On a regular basis in the 1950s and 60's, Van Dijk wrote music for and also performed as a pianist for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Between 1964–1966 Van Dijk worked at the British Broadcasting Corporation in London in educational television programmes broadcast throughout the world. From 1966 onwards, teaching became part of his music life. In that year he was appointed teacher of piano and composition at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, and in 1972 at Indiana University and Berklee college of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1985 he returned to Europe and spent an entire year focusing on his composition in Casares, Spain after which he became composer in residence at Dartington Hall in Devon in the United Kingdom.

Van Dijk has created an impressive oeuvre. His music has become increasingly more popular in England and Europe. His Concertante for Flute, harp, percussion and string orchestra (1963) was first performed in the Netherlands in 1965 by Koos Verheul, solo flautist with The Hague Philharmonic and with members of the Radio Chamber Orchestra, and has since then been played numerous times in Canada, Finland, and the United States. The Shadowmaker (1977) was commissioned and sung by Victor Braun with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mario Bernardi. The Netherlands premiere of his Violin Concerto (1984) was given in 1991 by the Polish violinist Robert Szreder with the Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Zeeuws Vlaanderen Festival conducted by Jan Stulen. The National premiere of his Epigrams for Orchestra (1961) took place in 1993 with the Hague Philharmonic conducted by Jac van Steen, and the Piano Concerto (1994) in 1996 by the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra with Douglas Madge as soloist conducted by Viktor Liberman.

In the United Kingdom, the Raphael Ensemble commissioned and performed his String Sextet in 1998 for the Brighton Music Festival, and in that same year British violinist Anthony Marwood commissioned and performed his Sonata for Violin and piano at the Wigmore Hall which would later also be performed at Van Dijk's 70th Birthday Concert in 2003 at London's Purcell Room on the South Bank which also included performances by pianist Kyoko Hashimoto, the Dante Quartet performing his String Quartet (2002), and the British tenor Ian Partridge giving the World premiere of the song cycle Songs of the Tao te Ching originally written for Sir Peter Pears. Since then Anthony Marwood and pianist Aleksander Madzar have performed his music on BBC Radio 3. In 2000, the Angika Dance Company commissioned the Triple Hymn for soprano, cello, mridangam, tam-tam and tubular bells based on a mantra from the Vedic literature to be performed on a UK tour and at the Spring Loaded Festival at the Place Theatre in London.

His Irish Symphony was commissioned in Dublin by Radio Telefís Éireann to celebrate Dublin as European City of Culture 1991.

As part of the International Chamber Music Series 2001 at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Hyperion recording artists the Florestan Trio performed Van Dijk's Piano Trio (2001) which they especially commissioned for and performed at the Florestan Festival of Peasarsh in East Sussex. A month before Rudi Martinus van Dijk died near his home town in Peasmarsh, East Sussex, he attended the World premiere of Kreitens Passion for baritone soloist, full choir and orchestra in Düsseldorf's Tonhalle with the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra with Andreas Schmidt, baritone and the American conductor John Fiore.

He is survived by his wife Jeanne Elisabeth Anna van Dijk- Koning ( born Voorburg, Netherlands September 4, 1930– ) and his two sons Walter van Dyk (born Toronto, Ontario, Canada May 20, 1961–) and Felix (born Leidschendam, Netherlands October 5, 1954–).

The Rudi M. van Dijk Foundation, set up in his name, is a fundraising charitable music foundation helps aspiring composers and conductors who live in parts of the world where there is political strife or economic deprivation. Fundraising activities have included concerts, receiving gifts and donations.

Notable works[edit]

  • Epigrams for Orchestra (1962)
  • Concertante for Flute and String Orchestra (1963)
  • Now is the Prophet's Time: A Christmas Cantata (1967)
  • Immobile Eden (1972)
  • The Shadowmaker (1977)
  • Violin Concerto for violin and orchestra (1984)
  • Piano Concerto (1994)
  • Irish Symphony (1990)
  • Kreiten's Passion (2003)

Chamber works[edit]

  • Sonatina for piano (1951)
  • Sonata for Clarinet and piano (1955)
  • Ballade for piano (1957)
  • Movement for Alto saxophone and piano (1960)
  • Le Tombeau de Francis Poulenc for two pianos (1964)
  • Bagatelle for piano (1969)
  • Lament for a Dying Bird, Three Miniatures for solo clarinet (1979)
  • Incantation for solo flute (1982)
  • Sonata for Violin and piano (1995)
  • String Sextet (1997)
  • A Touch of the Blues (1997)
  • String Quartet (1999)

References[edit]

External links[edit]