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Dordt College News

Dutch organist to perform at Dordt College

October 14, 2004

The internationally renowned Dutch organist, Sietze de Vries, will present a concert on Dordt College’s Casavant pipe organ Saturday, Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. in the B. J. Haan Auditorium.

In celebration of Dordt College’s 50th anniversary, as well as the 25th anniversary of the dedication of the Casavant organ, de Vries will present compositions by Dietrich Buxtehude, Johann Sebastian Bach, and his own rendition of Psalm 150, commissioned by Dordt College for this occassion.

The Dordt College chapel organ was built by Casavant Freres Limitee of Quebec in 1979. The three-manual tracker action instrument has 37 stops, 57 ranks, and 2,865 pipes, which range in speaking length from one inch to 16 feet. Considered one of the finest pipe organs in the Midwest, it was donated to Dordt College by Minnie J. Dahm, a Pella native who also served as a Dordt College librarian and archivist in the 1970s. Sietze de Vries

Sietze de Vries is a master of improvisation on the organ. He received his first organ lessons from Jaap Nieuwenhuijse in Gouda. At the Groningen Conservatory he studied with Johan Beeftink, Jan Jongepier (improvisation), and Wim van Beek. In 1994, he graduated summa cum laude in Music Pedagogy as van Beek’s last student in this major.

In 1996, he also graduated in Music Performance at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where Jos van der Kooy was his professor. With him, Sietze also studied improvisation and church music.

Sietze de Vries is very active as a concert organist in the Netherlands and abroad. He has won 15 prizes at various national and international organ competitions.

His playing won first place in the Hindemith-Micheelsen competition of the NCRV (1996), the Hagerbeer prize and the Flentrop prize in international competition in Alkmaar in 1999 and 2001, and first place in international competition in Maastricht, Aachen and Luik in 2000.

He has won first place for improvisation in such competitions as the national improvisation competition at Zwolle (1999) and the national BACH-improvisation competition at Amersfoort (2000). In 2002 he won the international improvisation competition at Haarlem, where he had been a finalist in 1998 and 2000.

Sietze de Vries has produced several CDs with repertoire from all style periods, improvisation, and accompanying choirs and congregations. He is also increasingly active as teacher of improvisation and as composer.

de Vries will also lecture and perform on Friday, Oct. 22, 3 p.m., at the B.J. Haan Auditorium. All musicians interested in attending are invited to do so.

There is no charge to attend the concert, however a freewill offering will be taken.

Dordt College is a Christian liberal arts college located in Sioux Center, Iowa, with more than 300 U.S. and international students participating in ensembles, including four choral groups, two orchestras and three bands. Music scholarships are available to qualified students.

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