Kees Vlak

From Wind Repertory Project
Kees Vlak


Cornelis (Kees) Vlak (30 September 1938, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 5 December 2014, Schoorl, Netherlands) was a Dutch composer and trumpeter.

Vlak began playing the trumpet at a young age, taught by his father, an amateur clarinetist in the Waterlands Fanfare Orchestra to Nieuwendam (Amsterdam). At the age of nine, Kees took piano lessons with musician Ru van Veen and pianist Wim Kan. He completed his studies at the Amsterdam Conservatory in 1959 in piano with Jaap Callenbach and trumpet. He also studied management and composition with Kors Monster at the Music Lyceum in Amsterdam and music theory at the University of California at Berkeley.

During his training, he played in various bands as a trumpeter, including in revues, musicals, operettas, in symphony orchestras and on the radio. He played for 12 years in the cabaret of Wim Kan. However, because of chronic sinus trouble, he had to give up the trumpet at the age of 25. This created more time for composing.

He worked with the Dutch Broadcasting Corporation, first as a copyist and later as an arranger. His first major composition, Paso Cabaio, came in 1967. In 1968 he won the Western Rapsody Hilvarenbeek Music Prize , which was the breakthrough for him.

Vlak was active as a piano teacher and regularly judged at home and abroad. He won several national and international composition prizes.

Vlak is also known to have written under the pseudonyms "Robert Allmend," "Luigi di Ghisallo," "Llano," "Alfred Bosendorfer" and "Dick Ravenal."

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