Arie J. Keijzer

More than 42 times played this month

Arie was born in 1932 in Nieuwe Tonge, where his father was a shoemaker and organist of the Reformed Church. After living in Rotterdam and Oud-Beijerland for a few years, the Keijzer family returned to Flakkee after the Second World War.

Arie "entered the world of music," starting an organ practice and becoming the organist in Ooltgensplaat and later in Middelharnis. In Middelharnis, he became the regular player of the three-manual Leeflang organ, newly built after the devastating church fire that destroyed the entire building in 1949. He studied under Piet van den Kerkhoff, Adriaan Engels, George Stam, and Singfried Reda.

In 1963, Keijzer won the National Organ Improvisation Competition in Bolsward, where he received both the prize for the performance of the major work and the chorale prize. The following year, he won in Haarlem. Meanwhile, he was also awarded the Prix d'excellence by the Rotterdam Conservatory, where he soon became a principal teacher.

From 1965 to 1994, he trained many young musicians there. When the four-manual organ in the Rotterdam Doelen was completed in 1968, he was asked to be the regular player. He performed monthly full-length concerts to packed halls, played the complete Bach cycle twice, presented works by North German composers (Buxtehude, Böhm, and many others), performed the entire oeuvre of César Franck, and much more. Together with Tini, his regular registrant, he still found time to give concerts elsewhere in the Netherlands and abroad. In addition, he composed a wealth of meticulously crafted music works for organ, orchestra, and oratorio practice.

When I confront Arie with this impressive track record, he emphatically emphasizes that a life in service of (church) music is only by the grace of God. Gifts received from God are meant to glorify Him and not to boast about oneself.