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Broeckx, Jan

Antwerpen, 02/06/1880 > Antwerpen, 17/01/1966


Broeckx, Jan

by Jan Dewilde

Jan Broeckx studied at the Antwerp Music School with Jean-Baptiste Colyns (violin), Jan Blockx (harmony) and Peter Benoit (composition). His earliest works were heavily influenced by Benoit. He admired his master and honoured him in 1939 with Huldezang aan Peter Benoit (Homage to Peter Benoit). In the same line he wrote several cantatas: Feest in het land (Feast in the Country, 1930, Aan onze school (To our School, 1937), Wereldvrede (World Peace, 1938), and Ruimte (Space, 1939). He also wrote several songs for the Flemish music movement, such as Vlaanderen, dierbaar land (Flanders, Dear Country) and Ik ben van Vlaanderland (I Belong to the Flemish Country).

Broeckx was very active as a conductor as well. At seventeen he already conducted the male choir De Gildebarden (The Bards of the Guild) and later he led Arti Vocali, and the workers' choirs Lassalle's Kring (Lassalle's Circle, Antwerp) and 'L'écho des prolétaires'(The Echo of the Proletarians, Leuven). With the latter two choirs he executed a lot of Flemish music, such as Vlaamsche Barden (Flemish Bards, Benoit), Memlinc-Cantate (Waelput) and Feestgezang (Festive Song, Vanderstucken). He also composed himself a series of works for male choir with titles such as Ons denken doodt men niet (Our Thinking will not be killed), Vrij (Free), Het recht (Our Right), Zes wandelliederen (Six Walking Songs) and prominently Een zomerkrans (A Summer Garland) in three parts. On the basis of his socialist commitment he also composed many songs for workers with titles such as Rode Jeugd (Red Youth), Arbeiderstaal (Workers' Language) and Ballade van den rooden zanger (Ballad of the Red Singer). He orchestrated Benoit's Vertelsels en balladen (Yarns and Ballads).

From 1894 to 1914 he played the second violin in the Antwerp string quartet De Kapel (The Chapel), together with Edmond De Herdt (first violin), Alfred Verheyen (alto), and Hipoliet Everaerts (cello). As a violinist he also played in the orchestras of the Flemish Opera, of the Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Dierkunde (Royal Society for Zoology), of the Maatschappij der Nieuwe Concerten (New Concerts Society), and of the Volksconcerten (People's Concerts). Broeckx was also a credit to his community by serving as a coach for the Flemish Opera and the Peter Benoit Fund.

In 1912 his operetta Studentenliefde (Student Love) was created by the Flemish Opera at Antwerp. After his appointment as music teacher at the Antwerp municipal schools in 1922 he also composed many children's songs. He took this genre seriously, witness his special attention for accompaniment and harmonization. Taking his cue from Benoit he also wrote Melo-Rythmische Begeleidingen (Melo-Rhythmic Accompaniments) for the gymnastics festivals of the Antwerp municipal schools.

© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Jan Dewilde (translation: Joris Duytschaever)