Jos Moerenhout

From Wind Repertory Project
Jos Moerenhout


Martin-Joseph (Jos) Moerenhout (27 April 1909, Sint-Jans-Molenbeek, Belgium – 18 January 1985, Antwerp, Belgium) was a Belgian composer, conductor and clarinetist.

Moerenhout played the clarinet in the Laeken Wind Band from an early age. He studied at the music academy in his hometown. From the age of 18, Moerenhout studied composition, music theory and clarinet at the Royal Music Conservatory in Brussels. At an early age he put his acquired knowledge into practice. At the age of nine, he composed several works and at the age of seventeen, he founded a symphonic orchestra, "Excelsior", conducted a choir and a wind orchestra. He finished his studies at the conservatory with honorss. He further studied with the great composers of Belgian wind music Paul Gilson and August De Boeck, where he studied counterpoint, fugue and composition. In the meantime, he had also found the opportunity, in 1929, to act as solo clarinetist in the Music Chapel of the 8th Line of Brussels.

He opted for a military career and in 1939 obtained the diploma of Kapellmeister. From 1939 to 1940 he was Kapellmeister of the Music Chapel of the 1st Jagers te Voet in Mons. From 1945 to 1951 he operated in Germany. He was conductor of the Music Chapel of the 6th Brigade in Bensberg near Cologne and of the Music Chapel of the 7th Brigade in Aachen and Unna. From 1951 to 1960 he was Kapellmeister of the Music Chapel of the 11th Infantry Brigade in Antwerp. This chapel was renamed Music Chapel of the 2nd Division in 1955.

In 1953 he became conductor of the Koninklijke Harmonie Apollon Berchem (Antwerp) and of the Koninklijke Harmonie der Kolenmijnen Beringen. From 1958 to 1977 he was also conductor of the Royal "Sint-Martinusfanfare", Halle.

At first Moerenhout's compositional interest was mainly in symphonic music and the choir. Later it turned out that he had dedicated himself to wind music. Gradually very independent transcriptions of symphonic works for the wind orchestra emerged (by André Ernest Modeste Grétry, Dorpsdansen - Danse villagoise, Céphale et Procris en Zemir et Azor; by Peter Benoit, Concertsuite and Alva's Entry into Brussels; by Arthur Meulemans, the Second Dance Suite; from Flor Peeters, the Modaal Suite; and by Carl Orff, Carmina Burana).

His plans to give wind music a big boost with his own work were shattered by the war. Moerenhout thought his brainchildren were most safe in a briefcase with his military luggage, but it was precisely that briefcase that disappeared without a trace and with it the unique scores created with the greatest care. The war made him a prisoner of war in Germany, and after the miserable years of imprisonment, he returned in 1946.

On his own soil he found the atmosphere and the peace for creative work, and we were able to get to know the spirit children and musical creations of Moerenhout. His works appeared as if from a cornucopia that was opened late: the Second Orchestral Suite, the symphonic poem Images d'Eté, the Four Antwerp Painters Suite and the Spring Suite. Later on, some more compositions include Divertimento Burlesco, Ode aan de Schelde and Mini Midi Maxi.

Works for Winds