Herman Strategier, the son of the organist at St. Walburga Church, was born on August 10, 1912 in Arnhem.
Because of the battle of Arnhem in 1944, Herman Strategier and his family were forced to leave the city. They found shelter with his friend Jan Mul in Haarlem.
On October 26, 1988, Herman died in his sleep at home in Doorwerth. Strategiers death was not unexpected, for he had already written his ‘Requiem‘, which was sung during his funeral.
Herman Strategier learned a lot about the organ by helping his father regularly in the registration of this instrument. Also, he took piano lessons and music theory with J.J. Ruygrok.
From 1929 to 1932, Strategier studied organ with Hendrik Andriessen, piano with Phons Dusch and music theory with Johan Winnubst at the Rooms-Katholieke Kerkmuziekschool (current: Conservatory in Utrecht).
From 1934 to 1938, he studied morphology and instrumentation with Hendrik Andriessen.
After his graduation in 1932, Strategier became director-organist at the parish church of St. Anna in Nijmegen.
Three years later, he succeeded his father as organist at St. Walburga Church in Arnhem. Moreover, he succeeded Hendrik Andriessen as organist at the Cathedral of Utrecht in 1949.
From 1946 to 1965, Herman Strategier was teacher in general courses at the Dutch Institute for Catholic Church Music (NIKK). At the same time, he also worked as a teacher of music theory at the Utrecht Conservatory and the Rotterdam Conservatory. From 1949 to 1977, Strategier was appointed as a teacher of music theory at the University of Utrecht.
In addition, he conducted the Dutch Madrigaalkoor in Leiden from 1959 to 1973.
In 1977, Strategier quit his job as conductor and teacher.
Herman Strategier was a composer in the school of Hendrik Andriessen. He wrote a large and varied body of works in which sacred music plays a significant role. He found inspiration in the music of French post-Romantic composers such as Debussy, Fauré, Poulenc and Boulanger.
Strategier stood out for his use of the church modes and his style of harmonisation: “Strategier was a true master of handling the church modes, the Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, and so forth. Especially in Gregorian chant, he could harmonise these modes in a way that nobody could ever equal”. (Utrechts Nieuwsblad, October 1988)
His ‘Arnhemsche Psalm’ premiered on May 5, 1955 during the ten-year liberation celebration of Arnhem. Strategier directed the piece himself.
In 1968, Herman Strategier was honored by the Queen of the Netherlands as Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau, for his achievements in the field of composition, pedagogy and management.
Five years later, he was honored as Knight in the Order of St. Gregory the Great for his achievements as a composer of church music.