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Piet Kee

Dutch composer and organist Piet Kee was born in Zaandam on 30 August 1927. He studied initially with his father, Cor Kee, then organ, piano and composition at the Amsterdam Conservatory, with teachers including Anthon van der Horst. He also played violin and clarinet. Winning prizes for improvisation helped to begin his international career as a concert organist, and he became renowned for his skills in improvisation.

He held posts as organist of St Laurens Church in Alkmaar and at St Bavokerk in Haarlem.

His many recordings included a series of eleven CDs for Chandos of organ repertoire from Sweelinck to Messiaen, recorded on various important historical European instruments.

He taught at the Music Lyceum and Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, and at the Haarlem International Summer Academy for Organists.

From the 1990s onwards, he concentrated more on composition, with music influenced by serialism and bird song. Kee believed that the artist/musician should show the quintessence of life.

His catalogue is well-represented with organ works, including Confrontation (1979) for church organ and three street organs, The Organ (2000) for five pipe organs, inspired by paintings by Pieter Saenredam, Festival Spirit (2001) for main organ and four positiv or box organs, commissioned by the St Albans International Organ Festival Competition, Haarlem Concerto for organ and orchestra (first performed by Thomas Trotter in March 2006) and Magic Pipes (2012) for panpipes and organ. Other compositions include Opstreek (Up-bow, 1997) for violin and piano, The World (1999), a mini-oratorio with text by Henry Vaughan for mixed choir, SATB soloists and ad lib continuo instrument, and several works for carillon.

Piet Kee died in Haarlem on 25 May 2018, aged ninety.

A selection of M&V articles about Piet Kee

CD Spotlight. Robust and Spirited - James Tibbles plays J S Bach, heard by Howard Smith. '... worthy of widespread international recognition.'

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Classical Music Programme Notes for concerts and recordings, by Malcolm Miller