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Middelburg organist and composer Bram Beekman died on 30 March 2016. Beekman was the Bach interpreter of Zeeland and far beyond.
From 1997 he was organist of the East Church in Middelburg on the famous De Rijckere organ. Until his retirement in 2012 he was organ Professor at the Brabants Conservatory.
Bram Beekman (Vlissingen) graduated cum laude at the Brabants Conservatorium in Tilburg. In 1972 he received his soloist diploma with endorsement improvisation. He then studied a year at the Musikhochschule in Vienna. In 1975 he won the Prix d'Excellence. He has performed far beyond our borders, including in 2008 on an organ festival in Beijing.For his services as organist, teacher and composer, he was made a Knight in 2014 in the Order of Oranje-Nassau.
He taught at secondary schools in Middelburg and Gouda and as a private teacher. In the 1990s Bram Beekman recorded the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach on cd. Later also the organ works of César Franck. He wrote several compositions for organ, choir and Orchestra.
Together with Bram I had the chance to visit many churches in Zeeland for recording the organs for Omroep Zeeland Television programme "Alle Registers Open" (Pull out the stops). We worked hard but also laughed a lot afterwards.
Fe. Bram lit the candles next to the organ but he burned his thumb so that he could barely play. And we had to record the whole day! No viewer or listener has ever noticed.
Or that time in Ghent, we had to switch something over at the organ pipes. We had to cross a sort of bridge from one to the other pillar on 10 metres high with only a piece of string beside us. Suddenly we looked at each other and asked: do you dare? Both we got such a fear of heights that we moved on our knees to go further.
But most beautiful were the cd recordings, often late into the night. Bram prefers to play Bach. After each new take he asked always first: how long was this?
I looked on the waveform and calculated. He knew exactly the tempo and duration, if the duration was a second different (on more than 5 minutes!) he talk back often: Shall I play it again?
We're going to miss him!