Henk Mak van Dijk
[KVK Mak Music]
Dutchman Henk Mak van Dijk studied cultural anthropology in Utrecht University as well as piano in the Music Conservatory of Rotterdam and the Royal Music Conservatory in The Hague. Masterclasses piano by the famous Hungarian pianists Gyorgy Sandor and Gyorgy Sebok were very inspiring for his further artistic and technical development at the piano. His adventurous spirit brought him to Indonesia, where he taught piano at Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta and gave concerts on Java and Sulawesi. Upon his return to The Hague, he started working on the conservatories of Rotterdam and The Hague and performing, also for Dutch radio and television.
The East Wind
His love for music and for Indonesia was combined in his research in co-operation with the Dutch Music Institute (Nederlands Muziek Instituut) on European (mainly Dutch) composers in Indonesia, which resulted in a pioneering book that was published in 2007 by KITLV Press (Leiden):
De oostenwind waait naar het westen; Indische componisten en Indische composities, 1898-1945 (The East Wind blows to the West; Indische composers, Indische compositions 1898-1945).
This book – CD included and with lots of rare pictures from tempo dulu – revealed the hidden history of classical music in the Dutch Indies. At that time he also released a first CD with Indische classical songs, sung by Dutch soprano Renate Arends: Angin timur gelumbang barat.
Opera Attima and ‘Indische’ Exposition in The Hague
Because of the interesting findings during the years of research, Henk Mak van Dijk was asked to set up an exhibition on ‘Classical Music in the Dutch East Indies’, which was inaugurated by H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, on the Pasar Malam Besar in The Hague in the summer of 2008. In the same year, the opera Attima by composer Constant van de Wall, about the last dramatic day in the life of the young Javanese dancer Attima, long forgotten and newly discovered by Mak van Dijk, was staged at the Royal Theatre in The Hague.
In 2008 he presented his book The East Wind in Yogyakarta (Java) and played at the Amazing Yogya Piano Festival in 2009, where he introduced the ‘Indisch’ music to Indonesian musicians. A year later he was invited by the Music Department of the University of Salatiga as a guest teacher. For several years now he works closely together with dra. pianist/ event organizer Nanik Chr. Omar and her organisation Amazing Music in Yogya and shares his knowledge with Indonesian students and scholars.
Wajang Foxtrot and Reminiscenses of Java
In co-operation with Museum Rotterdam Mak van Dijk wrote Wajang Foxtrot, Indie in klank en beeld (co-author Carl Nix, Rotterdam: Scriptum, 2011), about music life in the Dutch East-Indies. A symposium and an exhibition were also part of this project.
His latest cd-release is Herinneringen uit Java (Reminiscences of Java), classical piano music from the Dutch Indies, with compositions by Dutch composers who were influenced by Indonesian culture, f.e. Constant van de Wall, Paul Seelig, Linda Bandara, Dirk Fock.
In August 2013 he was invited to give a lecture-recital at the International Conference and Gamelan Festival of North Bali in Singaraja. He played ‘Bali’ piano compositions for piano solo and performed also works for two piano’s with pianist/composer Sinta Wullur.
World Museum Vienna invited Henk en Renate Arends later in 2014 to perform the by him newly discovered songs of Austrian-Dutch composer Linda Bandara. In the future Mak van Dijk hopes to build up an permanent exhibition in Yogyakarta on Indische classical music and Indische composers .
Singer Astrid Seriese /Writer Yvonne Keuls/ Actress Gepke Witteveen
The program Angin Timur (The Eastern Wind) with Astrid Seriese was launched in Premiere Parterre in The Hague in October 2013, a concert with songs, stories, poems and piano solo music from the Dutch Indies. Astrid and Henk also performed Angin Timur in May 2014 at the Tong Tong fair.
Indische essenties: On 13th of December 2015 another ‘Indisch’ show took place in Premiere Parterre: stories, songs and music from the Dutch East-Indies and Indonesia, with writer/storyteller Yvonne Keuls, actress and singer Gepke Witteveen and pianist Henk Mak van Dijk. Four other succesfull performances were given the next year in the same salon Premiere Parterre and also on the Tong Tong Fair in The Hague (29 May).
Henk Mak van Dijk publishes regularly about Indische composers and continues to give Indische lectures and piano recitals in Holland as well abroad. He wrote articles for De Gids, EPTA Piano Bulletin, Akkoord, Tijdschrift van de Koninklijke Vereniging van Nederlandse Muziekgeschiedenis, Indische letteren and the Indonesian piano Magazine Staccato. He wrote also about composers Theo Smit Sibinga and Paul Seelig as a contribution to the book Vervolgde componisten in Nederland, (red.Carine Alders and Leonora Pameijer), published in June 2015 by Amsterdam University Press. This project was organised by the Leo Smit Stichting in Amsterdam.
Jazz in the Dutch-Indies.
During his recent research about jazz in the Dutch-Indies Henk discovered the manuscript of Jazz concerto for piano solo and small jazz orchestra on an attic in his home town The Hague. The concert is written by Indisch composer Ludwig van Zele in Soerabaia between 1932-38. (Further information in magazine Moesson, November 2016).
He played this piano concerto with the Galloway Big Band under direction of T.S. Galloway on Tong Tong Fair 2017, 4th and 5th of June. Three jazz lectures were also part of his performance at the Festival.
Mesdag Quartier, The Hague
Furthermore Henk Mak van Dijk is chairman of Foundation Haags Open Podium (HOP) in the so called Mesdag Kwartier in the centre of The Hague, organizing classical concerts in the charming concert hall Podium Vocale.
With his Mesdag Piano Trio (piano, violin – Heleen Kuiper, cello – Ephraim van Ijzerlooij he regularly give chamber music concerts in Muzee Scheveningen.
- Wajang Foxtrot, The Dutch East Indies in sound and images, Indie in klank en beeld, 1890-1945, (makvandijk.wordpress.com)
- Lecture-recital in Singaraja: ‘ Bali’ in piano compositions, by Henk Mak van Dijk and Sinta Wullur (makvandijk.wordpress.com)