Daniel Ruijneman – he later substituted the “y” for “ij” in the family name – was born in Amsterdam on August 8, 1886 and died in his birthplace on July 25, 1963.
Daniel took piano lessons as a youth.
In 1913, Ruyneman studied composition with Bernard Zweers and the piano with Karel de Jong at the Amsterdam Conservatory.
Ruyneman quickly developed as a passionate promoter of cultural activity. He was the first secretary of the Dutch chapter of the International Society for Contemporary Music.
In 1917, Daniel established a personal musical idiom in the “Chineesche Liederen”.
During the 1920s, Daniel Ruyneman played a prominent role in the musical life of the city of Groningen, a.o. as the conductor of the locally celebrated student orchestra Bragi, as well as the choir of ‘Magna Pete’, the female student group. He also maintained connections with the painters society ‘De Ploeg’.
With the composer Henri Zagwijn, he founded the Netherlands Society for Creative Music in 1918. This Society was absorbed into the Dutch chapter of the International Society for Contemporary Music in 1923. In 1930, he founded the Netherlands Society for Contemporary Music in Amsterdam. Furthermore, his Foundation for International Exchange Concerts organised concerts in various European capitals and the United States, bringing him international fame.
In 1938, he published his book about the composer Jan Ingenhoven.
Besides, he was the editor in chief of his ‘Maandblad voor Hedendaagsche Muziek’ [Contemporary Music Monthly Magazine], which attracted well-known contributors from the Netherlands and abroad. The Magazine was banned during the German occupation.
In addition to his many other functions, Ruyneman became director of the Stedelijk Museum Concerts in Amsterdam in 1950, a position he held for the rest of his life.
As a composer, he created an extensive body of works.
He finished the ‘Divertimento‘ (1927), for chamber ensemble, in which he showed himself less concerned with timbre than the linear-melodic and structural aspects.
His music of the 1930s and 1940s shows neo-classical elements of his contemporaries Igor Stravinsky, Sergei Prokofiev and Francis Poulenc. In the ‘Sonata for chamber choir‘ (1931), he furthered the principle of vocal colour-polyphony. He finished the ‘Quatuor à cordes‘ in 1946. In 1948, he wrote ‘Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Kornets Christoph Rilke‘, a “declamatorio” based on texts by Rainer Maria Rilke.
In later compositions, his work leaned torward the twelve-tone methods of Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern, as evidenced by his four ‘Réflections‘ (1959-1961).
‘Gilgamesj‘ (1962), for orchestra, is a series of impressions created after reading the ancient Babylonian epoch “Gilgamesh”.
Ruyneman’s importance to Dutch musical life was aptly summed up by Paul Op de Coul (in the ‘Biographisch Woordenboek van Nederland’): “In fact, he was the only one who in this way promoted the cause of modern Dutch and foreign music. He presented precisely those works and composers who fell outside the standard repertoire and established music business, which inexhaustibly served the music of the past and utterly failed with regard to the music of its own time.”