Wolfgang Wijdeveld

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Wolfgang Wijdeveld was born on May 9, 1910 in The Hague and he died in Laren on December 12, 1985.

His father was the famous architect H.Th. Wijdeveld, his mother was the cellist Ellen Kohn and his grandmother the Polish pianist Ruscha Schönfeld, a pupil of Brahms. She had also good contact with a.o. Strauss, Cosima Wagner, Reger, and founded a conservatory in her hometown Gleiwitz, Upper Silesia (currently: Glivice, Poland) in 1850.

Wolfgang studied piano with Cornelius Berkhout and harmony with Willem van Warmelo. At the Amsterdam Conservatory of Music he studied piano with Willem Andriessen, theory with Sem Dresden and Anton Tierie and violin with Cor Kint.

In addition, he had singing lessons from Saar van Alphen and he studied composition for two years with Willem Pijper.

At first, Wijdeveld worked as a pianist and composer with the Yvonne Georgi ballet, Estelle Reed, and the Ballet of the Low Countries. He toured the Unites States in 1939 with the Yvonne Georgi Ballet.

From 1940 to 1946, he was managing director of the Music School in Zwolle. From 1946 to 1976 he taught piano and (from 1962) methodology at the Utrecht Conservatory of Music and from 1966 to 1970 also at the Conservatory of Arnhem.

He was a music critic at the daily Het Vrije Volk from 1956 to 1968.

In 1962 and 1963, he gave concerts and seminars (together with his father) at 15 universities throughout North America.

For many years, Wijdeveld was chairman of the Association of Teachers of the Utrecht Conservatory (1954-1972) and of the Amsterdam branch of the Royal Dutch Composers’ Association (1960-1972).

Wolfgang Wijdeveld wrote ballet music for one or two pianos with orchestra, vocal works such as the ‘Liederen op Zuid-Afrikaanse tekst’ (1966), larger choral works such as ‘Psalm 150’ (1950) and ‘Matrooslied’ (1966), a single orchestra work and chamber music.

His most important works from the latter category are his ‘Sonate for violin and piano’ (1948), the ‘Sonate for two violins and piano’ (1954) and his works for piano solo, such as the ‘Three Sonatas’ and ‘Notitieboeken I-V’.

Composing was his way to share his vision with the world around him. In his last years, plagued by cataract and diseases, he recorded most of his works for piano solo onto a simple tape recorder, because he wanted to retain some of his works and vision for posterity.

Wijdevelds modest oeuvre can be summarized as “valuable work of a bon vivant, constrained by an acquired modesty”. (Paul Janssen, 2010)