Hans Kox

Netherlands, May 19, 1930 - February 25, 2019


From 1984, Kox devoted himself entirely to composing. To that end, he secluded himself, for “Composing is simply the loneliest profession on earth. I knew that when I got started, and actually, I wouldn’t have it any other way.” In more than 50 years, Kox completed about 150 compositions. His music has no specific intentions or meaning. Kox describes his music as “just music, sound. Music is itself, however one wants to interpret this.” Kox received numerous commissions from the Concertgebouw Orchestra, Buma Cultural Fund, and the Dutch government, among others. Additionally, he has received commissions from many countries such as Germany, Belgium, Venezuela and the United States. For the Scheveningen International Music Competition 1987, Kox wrote the compulsory work 'Le Songe du Vergier' for violoncello and orchestra. In commemoration of the Dutch Liberation's 40th anniversary Kox composed the 'Anne Frank Cantata: a Child of Light', which was premiered on May 4th, 1985. This piece is a part of the 'War Trilogy' together with 'In those Days' (1969) and 'Requiem for Europe' (1971). The oratorio 'Sjoah', for soloists, choir and orchestra, was written in 1989. Kox also wrote the opera's 'Dorian Gray' and 'Das grüne Gesicht', the cantata 'Credo quia absurdum', six symphonies and violin concertos. In March 2003, the opera 'Rochester's second bottle' was performed in Birmingham. The '4th Violin Concerto' was written for the British violinist Daniel Hope and the Rotterdam Chamber orchestra, premiered in May 2005. His most recente works include 'Sonate nº. 2' for violoncello solo (2011), 'Symphony Nº 6' for mixed choir and orchestra (2012), 'Stray Birds ' for trumpet/organ duet (2015) and 'String Quartet Nº 3' (2015).


Other pursuits

From 1957 to 1970, Kox was director of the music school in Doetinchem, from 1970 to 1974, musical adviser of the North Holland Philharmonic Orchestra (Haarlem), and from 1974 to 1984, he taught composition at the Conservatory of Music in Utrecht. While still a composition student, he made his debut at the Gaudeamus Music Week with both a string trio and a piano sonata. On the occasion of his 75th birthday, a biography by Bas van Putten, 'Hoog Spel', was published in 2005.


Hans Kox was born in Arnhem on May 19, 1930. He died on February 25, 2019 at Haarlem. Kox, whose father was a choral conductor and organist, studied at the Utrecht Conservatory from 1946 to 1948. After two years, he switched to the Amsterdam Conservatory, where he studied piano with Jaap Spaanderman from 1948 to 1951 and composition with Henk Badings from 1951 to 1955.

Live performances of Hans Kox’s works

The stranger for alto saxophone and voice

Hans Kox on Spotify

Hans Kox on SoundCloud

Recently published works by Hans Kox