Marius Flothuis was born on October 30, 1914 in Amsterdam where he died on November 13, 2001.
Flothuis is largely self-taught as a composer.
As a boy he played quatre mains (four hands) piano with his older brother.
Flothuis studied piano with Bé Crook and Arend Koole and piano and theory with Hans Brandts Buys. He also studied musicology with Albert Smijers and K. Bernet Kempers at the University of Amsterdam. In 1969, Flothuis gained a PhD in 1969 with a thesis on Mozart’s compositions: “Mozart’s arrangements of his own works and of works by other composers”.
In addition to composing, Flothuis made an impact as a musicologist, organizer and author. He had a long affiliation with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, first as a programme editor and later as artistic director.
As a musicologist, he specialised in Mozart and was internationally active in this field. He was also interested in Claudio Monteverdi, Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler, French music between 1880 and 1920, and female composers.
Flothuis also wrote music reviews and worked as a librarian at the Foundation Donemus. As an author he published the books “Hedendaagse Engelse Componisten” (“Contemporary English Composers”), “Notes on Notes”, “Selected Essays” en “Denken over Muziek” (“Thinking about music”).
From 1974 to 1982, Flothuis was professor of musicology at the Utrecht University.
From 1980 to 1994, he worked as the chairman of the Zentralinstitut für Mozart-Forschung in Salzburg.
In spite of his many other activities, he composed more than 100 pieces.
With his ‘Vier Morgensternliederen’ for soprano and piano (1938), Flothuis made his breakthrough as a composer, thanks to the advice from Bertus van Lier to convert these songs in a symphonic version.
Flothuis was forced to put down his work because he did not want to collaborate with the Nazis. Due to this, he went into German captivity. From the diary of T. Wibauthuis-Guilonard, former prisoner of Kamp Vught (1944): “Everard plays ‘Aubade’ for his fellow prisoners, which was composed by his friend Marius Flothuis in honor of his birthday. A premiere in Kamp Vught!”
“The title of Flothuis’ “Zoeken naar zuiverheid en schoonheid” [Search for purity and beauty], his ‘in memoriam’ for his friend Witold Lutoslawski, could actually also stand as the motto of Flothuis’ own compositions. Clarity and balance are the characteristic traits with regard to form and idiom as well as instrumentation” (J.Kiliaan).
Leo Samama describes Marius Flothuis as follows: “A lyricist pur sang, an artisan who eschews bombast of any sort and with great integrity and musical modesty practices his craft”.
Other important works include: ‘Concert (op. 19)’ for flute and orchestra, Valses sentimentales’, ‘ Sonatine (opus 26)’ for trumpet, horn and trombone, ‘Partita’ for violin and piano, ‘Valses nobles (opus 52)’ for piano four hands, ‘Hymnus‘ for soprano and orchestra.
Flothuis received many awards, including:
– Prize from Northern California Harpists Association (1952) for his ‘Sonata da camera‘ (op. 42, 1951) for flute and harp;
– Prof. Van der Leeuw Prize (1956) for his ‘Kwartet‘ (1952) for strings;
– Prize from Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschappen; OCW) (1962) for his ‘Symfonische Muziek‘ (1957).