ten holt

The composer Simeon ten Holt was born in 1923 in Bergen (Holland). He studied compostion with Jacob van Domselaer (1890-1960), the musical representative of  “De Stijl” (a Dutch art movement). Ten Holt continued his studies at the “Ecole Normale” in Paris with Arthur Honegger (1892-1955) and kept his residence in France for several years.

He wrote articles on the subject music in magazine “Raster” and was co-founder of the Contemporary Music Group in his hometown Bergen. He performed his own works on the piano. Initially Simeon ten Holt composed a-tonal and serial music. The most important works of this period are “Cyclus aan de Waanzin” (Cycle to Madness) (1962), “Interpolations” (1969) for the piano, “Diagonaalmuziek” (1958) for strings, “Trypticon” (1965) for 6 percussionists.

Over the years Simeon ten Holt developed an interest in a special way of composing where tradition and experiments are equally important. In 1975 he start working on a piece for multiple keyboard instruments, “Canto Ostinato”, which was being completed in 1979. This work marked the beginning of a new period, wherein Ten Holt returned to tonality. Lemniscaat (1983), Horizon (1985), Incantatie IV (1990) and Meandres (1997), all works for 2 or more keyboard instruments, belong to this period. Important compositions for one or several pianos are “Natalon in E” (1980) and “Soloduiveldans” II (1986), III (1990) and IV (1997).


The works of Simeon ten Holt are being performed worldwide.

photography: Friso Keuris