Van Hoof, Jef

Antwerpen, 08/05/1886 > Antwerpen, 24/04/1959


Van Hoof, Jef

by Luc Leytens

Jef van Hoof was one of the most important Flemish composers of his generation. He studied at the Royal Flemish Conservatorium in Antwerp of which he became the director from 1942 to 1944.

Van Hoof who trained as an organist, was at first mainly known as a composer of songs and choral works which caused him to play an important role in the Flemish cultural emancipation struggle. In 1911 he obtained the Second Prize of Rome in Brussels and in 1911-1912 he went to study in Berlin. Gradually his work expanded to include orchestral works, opera and religious compositions. His chamber music remained relatively limited, but he became a pioneer in the field of music forcarillon and brass.

At the same time he was active as a pianist and conductor of, among others, the Antwerp Brass Ensemble, which he founded. In 1933 he took the initiative for the Flemish National Song Festival. During the last twenty years of his career he revealed as a composer of symphonies (six in all). In style his works belong to the post-romantic period.

After his death a three-yearly prize for Flemish composers was founded in 1968 in his memory. The whole of his published works is deposited in the library of the Antwerp  Royal Flemish Conservatory and is also registered with the Cebedem in Brussels.

© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Luc Leytens (translation: Jo Sneppe)