Paul van Kempen

born on 16/5/1893 in Zoeterwoude, Netherlands

died on 8/12/1955 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands

Paul van Kempen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Paul van Kempen
Born May 16 1893
Zoeterwoude, Netherlands
Died 08 December 1955 (aged 62)
Occupation conductor

Paul van Kempen (16 May 1893 – 8 December 1955) was a Dutch conductor.

Personal life

Van Kempen was born in Zoeterwoude, Netherlands. He studied at the Amsterdam conservatory from 1910 to 1913, including composition and conducting with Julius Roentgen and Bernard Zweers, as well as violin with Louis Zimmerman. From 1913, he was a second violinist with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. One year later, he was in the first violin section. After 1916, he began to make his career more in Germany, and served as concertmaster in orchestras in Posen, Bad Nauheim und Dortmund. In 1932, van Kempen became a German citizen. He died in Amsterdam at age 62.


Van Kempen was music director in Oberhausen for 2 years. From 1934 to 1942, he was principal conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic.[1][2] In 1942, he succeeded Herbert von Karajan as Kapellmeister in Aachen, serving through 1944. Several years after World War II, in 1953, van Kempen became general music director of the city of Bremen.

In 1949, van Kempen returned to the Netherlands as principal conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, based in Hilversum. Moreover, his conducting activities during World War II made him a controversial figure in the Netherlands, such as conducting concerts for the Wehrmacht. On one occasion, in 1951, van Kempen was engaged as a substitute conductor at the Concertgebouw Orchestra in place of the ill Eduard van Beinum. During the first night, audience members protested strongly, but the concert took place. On the second night, the audience disruptions were so severe that 62 musicians left the stage and refused to continue.[3][4]

Van Kempen recordings included the Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 3, 7 and 8 with the Berlin po, Nos 2 and 5 with the dresden po, the five Beethoven piano concertos with Wilhelm Kempff and the Berlin po, and the Tchaikovsky Symphonies Nos. 5 and 6 with Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw. He conducted the Orchestre Des Concerts Lamoureux on an EPIC recording, LC 3349, year unknown, of Rossini: William Tell Overture and Barber Of Seville Overture, and Donizetti: Daughter of the Regiment Overture. On the same recording he also conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam on Tchaikovsky: Marche Slave, Op.31, Strauss, Sr: Redetsky March, Op. 228, and Schubert: Marche Militaire in D Major, Op. 51, No. 1


  • Kees de Leeuw: Dirigeren is geen beroep maar roeping. Leven en werk van Paul van Kempen (1893-1955). Uitg. Gopher, Amsterdam, 2007. 269 p. ISBN 978-90-5179-487-8 (Dutch)


  1. Nancy Fleetwood, Musical Notes from Abroad, 'Musical Times, 76(1107), pp. 460-463.
  2. Nancy Fleetwood, Musical Notes from Abroad, 'Musical Times, 77(1122), pp. 752-753.
  3. Misbehavior at Amsterdam, Time, 12 February 1951. URL accessed on 2007-07-13.
  4. Sequels, Time, 19 February 1951. URL accessed on 2007-07-13.

External links

  • Paul van Kempen Biography (Dutch)

This page was last modified 01.05.2014 11:18:03

This article uses material from the article Paul van Kempen from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.