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Otto Ketting

OccupationComposer, Conductor, Performer

Otto Ketting was born in Amsterdam. He studied trumpet at the Conservatory of The Hague, and composition with Karl Amadeus Hartmann in Munich.

He was active as a trumpet player for several years with, among others, the Residentie Orkest in The Hague. Since 1961 he has dedicated himself primarily to composition and conducting. Ketting was professor of composition at the Rotterdam Conservatory from 1967 to 1971 and at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague from 1971 to 1974. From 1978 to 1991 he conducted contemporary music ensembles at the Rotterdam Conservatory. As a conductor Ketting has performed with various orchestras, performing his own compositions as well as works by other contemporary composers.

One of his most successful works is Time machine (1972). It received performances during the ISCM Festival of 1974, and furthermore in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC, San Francisco, La Rochelle, Liverpool, Munich, Hannover, Vienna, Hong Kong and various places in The Netherlands. The Symphony for saxophones and orchestra was broadcasted by radio stations in 25 countries, and conducted by Ernest Bour in the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Ketting wrote three operas: Dummies (1974), O, gij, rhinoceros (O, thou rhinoceros) (1977) and Ithaka (1986), which premiered as opening performance of the Amsterdam Opera House (Het Muziektheater) in September of 1986. In October of 1990 the composer himself conducted the première of his Symphony no. 3 (1990) with the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In 1994 he completed a four-piece composition written for several ensembles: De overtocht (The Passage, 1992), Het oponthoud (The Delay, 1993), De aankomst (The Arrival, 1993) and Kom, over de zeeën (Come, over the seas, 1994).

His orchestral compositions Passacaglia and Due canzoni (1957) were awarded the 1958 Gaudeamus Composition Prize and the latter was performed during the 1963 Warsaw Autumn Festival. For Time machine Ketting received the Kees van Baaren Prize of the Johan Wagenaarstichting in 1973. The Symphony for saxophones and orchestra (1978) was awarded second prize on the UNESCO Rostrum of composers, and the Matthijs Vermeulen Prize. In 1992 his Third symphony (1990) was awarded the American Barlow Prize.

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