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Music pioneer Jan Boerman passed away at 97

One of the great minds in electronic music, composer Jan Boerman passed away on Sunday 25 October at the age of 97. Boerman, together with Ton Bruynèl and Dick Raaijmakers, is one of the pioneers of electronic music in the Netherlands. Boerman leaves behind an extensive oeuvre in which electronic music occupies a prominent place. He specialized in “tape music”; compositions recorded entirely on tape. In 1982 he received the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize for that oeuvre. In 1997 he received the Willem Pijper Prize for his electronic composition Vocalise 1994. The CD box The Complete Tape Music of Jan Boerman, released in 1998, was awarded an Edison.

Henk Heuvelmans is a great fan of Jan Boerman’s work:  “For an interview I was once asked to name one record to take to an isolated place. Fortunately the record collection with all of Jan’s electronic music was just released, so I chose this record ofcourse. My love for Boerman’s music goes way back: as a 20-year-old student I first heard the his music on the radio. Donemus had just released an LP with Composition 1972 and De Zee. Even in mono on my portable radio that music completely overwhelmed me. It was one of my personal highlights that I could hear almost all of Jan’s tape work via 6- and 8-track reproduction during the Dutch Music Days organized by Gaudeamus in 1999.” 

This year, on the occasion of 75 years of Gaudeamus, an entire concert would be devoted to the music of Jan Boerman during the Akousma festival in Montreal. Due to the global pandemic, this concert is postponed to 2022.

Also on the occasion of 75 years Gaudeamus, Kees Tazelaar wrote an article about the history of electronic music in the Netherlands.  The full English article is included in the beautiful anniversary book and can also be read on the special 75 years Gaudeamus website.

photo by Co Broerse