Henriëtte Bosmans

The Dutch pianist and composer Henriette Bosmans was born on 6 December 1896 into a family of professional musicians. Her father, Henri Bosmans, who died when the girl was only six months old, was the cello leader of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. Her mother, Sarah Bosmans-Benedikts, taught piano at the Amsterdam Conservatory for 40 years. Henriette studied piano with her mother and then became a piano teacher herself at the age of 17. She regularly performed with the Concertgebouw Orchestra.

From 1914 Henriette began to write piano music, and in 1919 her Violin Sonata was performed in public.  Bosmans composed mostly chamber works, and after completing her studies she began to write orchestral music, often with a cello solo. She studied composition with Cornelis Dopper and Willem Pijper, to whom she dedicated her string quartet.  In the 1920s she performed throughout Europe with among others Pierre Monteux, Willem Mengelberg and Ernest Ansermet. She gave 22 concerts with the Concertgebouw Orchestra alone between 1929 and 1949.

In 1921 Henriette Bosmans met the cellist Frieda Bellinfante, who later became the first female permanent conductor of a professional orchestra. For 7 years the two had a romantic relationship, and although she was younger, Bellinfante looked after Bosmans and her career. Henriette dedicated her Second cello concerto to her, which was performed in January 1924 with Bellinfante herself as soloist. The two performed in the Amsterdam Trio, together with flutist Johan Feltkamp. From 1930 Henriette played in another trio, with violinist Ferdinand Hellmann and cellist Henkom van Wezedem. In 1934 she married the violinist Francis Koene, with whom she played frequently. After his death from brain cancer in January 1935, she went into shock and did not write music for several years.

As a woman composer Henriette Bosmans found less recognition in Netherlands, except from colleagues and friends. Bosmans composed in a contemporary style, particularly inspired by Debussy and other pioneers in the field. However, she also managed to find her own way. From her teacher Willem Pijper she borrowed the use of polytonality, which gives her music a certain impressionistic tinge. She has a Sonata for cello and piano, Trios for violin, cello and piano, a string quartet, pieces for violin and piano and works for cello: 2 concertos for cello and orchestra, “French Melodies” Tone Poem,  “Impressions” for cello and orchestra, etc. Cellist Marix Loevensohn frequently performed her Poème for cello and orchestra, while Louis Zimmermann, concertmaster of the Concertgebouw Orchestra, premiered the Concert Piece for Violin and Orchestra in 1935, conducted by Willem Mengelberg.

Bosmans’s international breakthrough began in 1938, when violinist Willem Noske played this work, full of “Oriental moods,” in Prague and Paris. In October 1941 it was also performed several times in the United States with Ruth Posselt as violinist. However, the prospect of further international engagements became blocked by the war. Being half Jewish, Henriette fell into disfavor and the Nazi occupiers banned her from all activity. After the war, resuming her concert career, Henriette Bosmans again composed a number of works and published articles in several newspapers, driven by an extremely negative critical attitude. She became a member of the Association of Dutch Composers in 1947. He maintained a correspondence with her colleagues, including Benjamin Britten.

She died on 2 July 1952 of stomach cancer. The Henriëtte Bosmans Prize, named after  her , is an encouragement prize for young Dutch composers. The prize, consisting of €2500, has been awarded since 1994 by the Society of  Dutch Composers.

Какво търсиш днес?

Search in our website...