Anton de Beer

Anton de Beer behind Fokker-organ Anton de Beer was born on 27 October 1924 in Haarlem. He studied piano with Johannes Röntgen and Paul Frenckel at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, harpsichord with Richard Boer and composition with Ernest W. Mulder. In 1951 he came into contact with Prof. Fokker. As a pianist and choir conductor he felt strongly attracted to the 31-tone system. He found it a challenge to acquire the special playing technique necessary for the 31-tone organ. The feasibility of this organ was initially doubted by several colleagues. Since the 31-tone organ was built in Teylers Museum in Haarlem in 1952 he was the regular player, and also a choir and orchestra conductor. He performed works specially written for the organ of among others Henk Badings, Hans Kox, Joel Mandelbaum, Alan Ridout and Ivan Wyschnegradsky for the first time. Self he wrote a Sonatina, a Sonata, some Kleine Speelstukken (small playing pieces) as well as a two volume Method for 31-tone keyboard.
At the instigation of Anton de Beer the electronic sound principle was also involved with 31-tone tuning. Herman van der Horst of the firm "Neonvox" in Wilp manufactured in 1970 an electronic keyboard instrument, wherein the ingeneous keyboard arrangement of Prof. Fokker was retained, although the keys were slightly closer together, so that the fingers could find their way over the keyboard in an even faster and more confident way. This instrument, the Archiphone, was introduced on 1 November 1970. Anton de Beer had quickly conceived an Intrada 1 November 1970 for the occasion, a short demonstration piece with all kinds of "jokes" with higher harmonics and mirrorings of them in it, and in which of course extra attention was called to the special features of the 31-tone tuning, the almost pure third and harmonic seventh. For the Archiphone he wrote a number of works, like Speelmuziek I-II (1971, 1975), some in combination with violins or singer.
For his merit in the field of 31-tone music he was awarded the Jos de Klerk-prize in 1982. Anton de Beer was director and member of the Advice Council of the Huygens-Fokker Foundation while being chief of general affairs from 1964 to 1986 at the Netherlands Broadcasting Organisation NOS. From 1971 to 1984 he was chairman of the Association for the Good of European Choirs (AGEC) and co-initiator of the Kirill Kondrasjin conductors competition, the Franz Liszt Piano competition and the Internationaal Muziekconcours in Scheveningen. He died in Haarlem on 1 February 2000.


For 31 Elises plus Bouw and Jeanne, 0'41" midi

The Instructive Sonatina is on the grammophone record Muziek in de aula van Teylers Museum