Johannes Gijsbertus Bastiaans was born on Oktober 31, 1812 in Wilp (The Netherlands). He died on February 16, 1875 in Haarlem (The Netherlands).
Bastiaans was educated in organ playing from the age of ten in Deventer. After his father’s death, he studied to become a watchmaker and settled in Rotterdam. There he meet C.F. Hommert, who gave him lessons in harmony and counterpoint and who introduced him to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. In 1836, Bastiaans moved to Dessau to continue his studies with Friedrich Schneider. He wanted to develop himself also as an organist and moved to Leipzig in 1837. Johannes Bastiaans is the first Dutchman to study music in Leipzig while Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy is there, who gave him composition instructions.
During his studies, Bastiaans played the double bass in the local orchestra Euterpe.
He takes Mendelssohn’s enthusiasm for Johann Sebastian Bach back with him to the Netherlands, thus initiating the Netherlands Bach movement, which is still very much alive today. He devotes himself to improving the level of singing in church and restoring the ancient chorale melodies to their original form.
In 1839 he became organist for the Mennonite congregation in Deventer. In 1840 he became organist at the Zuiderkerk in Amsterdam, and between 1858-1878 he was city organist at the Great or St. Bavo Church in Haarlem, where he regularly played the world famous Christian Müller organ (1738). From 1841 to 1858, Bastiaans played double bass in Amsterdam’s professional orchestra Caecilia. From 1842 to 1844 he also gave singing lessons at the Amsterdam Institute for the Blind.
Johannes Gijsbertus Bastiaans is the founder of an Amsterdam Bach Society. He started a private course in music theory and a year later he expanded this with an organ course. From 1853 to 1856 he was a lecturer at the Amsterdam Music School.
In 1867, Bastiaans published a harmony based on the ideas of, among others, Anton Friedrich Justus Thibaut and Moritz Hauptmann.
Bastiaans publishes several volumes of chorales and also composes new melodies, nine of which are included in the Dutch hymnal ‘Liedboek voor de Kerken’ (1973). He also wrote several melodies for the church book ‘Vervolgbundel op de Evangelische Gezangen’. Most of his other compositions – choral works, songs, chamber music, piano music and numerous organ works – never make it into print.