Simeon ten Holt

Simeon ten Holt
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Simeon ten Holt was born in Bergen on January 24, 1923.
He studied piano and theory with Jakob van Domselaer (1890-1960). In 1949 he moved to Paris where he received lessons at the École Normale with Arthur Honegger and Darius Milhaud.
From 1970 to 1987 he taught contemporary music at the Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem. As a pianist he is active performing his own works.

General
Simeon ten Holt was born in Bergen on January 24, 1923. He passed away on November 25, 2012 in Alkmaar.

Education
Simeon studied piano and theory with Jakob van Domselaer (1890-1960). In 1949 he moved to Paris where he received lessons at the École Normale with Arthur Honegger and Darius Milhaud.

Career
In 1968, Simeon founded the “Werkgroep Bergen Hedendaagse Muziek (Working Group Contemporary Music Bergen)”. For this working group he organized concerts solely devoted to contemporary music, initially at the Arts Centre in Bergen, later at the Ruïnekerk [Ruin Church].

From 1969 to 1975, Ten Holt was an employee of the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht, where he realized some electronic compositions.

From 1970 to 1987, he taught contemporary music at the Academy of Visual Arts in Arnhem. Here he experimented with group improvisations that, in latter years, led to performances at Arnhem Festivals.

As a pianist he was active performing his own works.

The memoirs of Simeon ten Holt, entitled “The forest and the citadel”, were published in 2009 by publisher Balance.

Compositions
“My compositions take shape without any predetermined plan and are, as it were, the reflection of a quest for an unknown goal… As far as I can see, my relationship, both figuratively and practically speaking, to the tonal centre and the problem of tonality, has been a determining factor in the development of the achievements in my creative career. This relation gradually shifted from an initial intuitive understanding to a more conscious issue later on. The role of the tonal centre, first as an undisputed factor, starts to move, loses its authority, submerges into chromaticism and the equality of all tones, and finally emerges in a shape that is chastened by death and katharsis. A large-scale history reproduces itself on a small scale.” (Simeon ten Holt, 1995)

A breakthrough is the performance of ‘…A/.TA-LON‘ by the Asko Ensemble at the 1978 Holland Festival.

In 1979, his composition ‘Canto ostinato‘ (1976-1979) for four keyboards is premiered. Ten Holt (1995): “I was very surprised to find myself in a steppe-like landscape one day, which was characterized by an immense horizon, by vastness, space and time, and, last but not least: by tonal centres and tonality (‘Canto ostinato‘).” In 1984, Simeon released a LP with ‘Canto Ostinato‘ and later also a CD. It has been the best selling album of all Dutch composers.

Other important works are: ‘Bagatellen‘ (1954), ‘Cyclus aan de waanzin‘ (1961), ‘Interpolations‘ (1969), ‘Natalon in E‘ (1979) for piano; ‘Diagonaalmuziek‘ for strings (1958), ‘Tripticon‘ for percussion ensemble (1965), Music for the film ‘Kockyn‘ (1966); ‘Lemniscaat‘ (1983) and ‘Horizon‘ (1985) for keyboard instruments, ‘Soloduiveldans I‘ (1959), ‘Soloduiveldans II‘ (1986) and ‘Soloduiveldans III‘ (1990) for piano and ‘Incantatie IV‘ (1990) for 5 instruments.

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