Jos van der Kooy is organist in residence at St Bavo’s Church in Haarlem (Müller organ), the Haarlem Philharmonie (Cavaillé-Coll organ), Westerkerk in Amsterdam (two organs), and the Gothic Hall at the Netherlands Council of State in The Hague. He studied organ and improvisation with Piet Kee at the Conservatory of Amsterdam where he was awarded the Prix d’Excellence in 1981. He was awarded first prize of the Haarlem International Improvisation Competition in 1980 and 1981 and the first prize of the National Improvisation Competition in Bolsward in 1978. He now teaches organ, improvisation and church music at the Academy of Arts of the University of Leiden, the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, and the International Summer Academy for organists in Haarlem.
Sietze de Vries received his professional training from, among others, Wim van Beek, Jan Jongepier and Jos van der Kooy. He was awarded his undergraduate degree at the Groningen Conservatoire; at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague he completed his post-graduate studies with an endorsement for improvisation. In addition, he graduated from the Alkmaar school for church music with the Dutch church music diploma.
Between 1987 and 2002 he won fifteen prizes at various national and international competitions for both repertoire and improvisation. The pinnacle, and also the conclusion, of that period was his triumph at the International Improvisation competition in Haarlem in 2002. On two previous occasions he had been a finalist.
He has written a book- Harmonizing: A Method to Encourage the Art of Improvising which covers basic theory while gradually moving toward improvising using I, IV, and V in easier keys. As the book advances, he includes harmonizing and improvisation on ii, iii, and vi as well as in minor keys and even church modes. Published by Boeijenga Music Publications. Available from the OHS Catalog here.