Bertus van Lier was born in Utrecht on September 10, 1906. He died on February 14, 1972.
He studied the violoncello with Max Orobio da Castro at the Amsterdam Conservatory. Later on he studied composition with Willem Pijper and direction with Hermann Scherchen.
Bertus van Lier's talents manifested themselves in many fields. He was conductor at home and abroad of many performances, such as Bach's Matthew Passion at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1950, for which he received an invitation from Benjamin Britten. In 1949 he conducted his own composition Het Hooglied (Holy Song) in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam (Holland Festival). During the season 1954-55 he was the conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague and during the Holland Festival 1956 of the Nederlands Kamerorkest. In 1938 Van Lier was appointed teacher at the Utrecht Conservatory, in 1945 at the Rotterdam Conservatory and in 1953 at the Amsterdam Music Lyceum. In 1960 he became a senior lecturer (subject: art history) at the University of Groningen and in 1966 he was appointed professor. At the occasion of the 350th anniversary of this university he was granted a honorary doctorate.
Bertus van Lier wrote music for orchestra (3 Symphonies, Ballet Katharsis, Concerto for Bassoon, Sinfonia, Divertimento Facile), chamber music, vocal music (Het Hooglied (The Holy Song) for soloists, choir and chamber orchestra (English and Dutch version), Cantata for Christmas, for choir, soloists and orchestra) and incidental music to Aias and Antigone by Sophocles - both being his own translations.
In 1955 Bertus van Lier received the Nijhoff Prize for his translation of Antigone and in 1961 'Het Hooglied' (The Holy Song) was awarded the Sem Dresden Prize.