Kempen, Paul van

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Kempen, Paul van Gender: M
Paulus van Kempen
born on 16 May 1893 at 03:00 (= 03:00 AM )
Place Zoeterwoude, Netherlands, 52n07, 4e30
Timezone LST m4e53 (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Koppejan
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 25°25' s_mo.18.gif s_taucol.18.gif 27°44 Asc.s_aricol.18.gif 20°51'


Dutch-German violinist and conductor.

He was the son of the goldsmith Josephus Johannes van Kempen (21 January 1863, Leiden - 22 July 1933, Leiden) and Maria Petronella Johanna van der Linden (26 September 1864, Leiden - 28 May 1942, Leuvenheim/Brummen). They married in 1886 and got between 1887 and 1907 at least 13 children, of which Paulus was the fourth.

He took his first violin lessons at age 7 in Leiden. His teacher was the Jan Gerbrand Striening (1860- 12 jan 1932 11h30 PM, leiden). The cabinetmaker Sriening was a Dutch amateur composer noted for his violin version of Heine's and Schumanns "Hör' ich das Liedchen klingen".

At age 13 he debuted as a soloist violin player. With help of a grant, he studied violin, composition and conducting at the Amsterdam conservatory from 1910 to 1913. His composition teachers were Julius Roentgen and Bernard Zweers, playing the violin he learned from Louis Zimmerman.

On 1 September 1913, at age 20, he became second violinist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. In 1914 he became the first violinist. He admired Willem Mengelberg and wanted to be conductor. After 1916, he began to make his career in Germany, in orchestras in Posen, Bad Nauheim und Dortmund (1920). He gave lessons and participated in a trio with Gerard Bunk and became concertmaster in Dortmund.

Since 1929 he conducted the Dortmunder Kammerorchester, and could be first heard on radio. It was during the Great depression and social unrest in Germany. Van Kempen wanted to return to the Netherlands and applied without success as a conductor in Utrecht.

On the German federal elections of July 31, 1932, the Nazi party became with 230 seats the largest party in parliament. On 15 November 1932 he became a German citizen, as this was now needed to become a conductor in Oberhausen.

In 1933 he became conductor of the Deutsche Musikbühne. From May 1934 till 1942 he conducted and reorganised the Dresdner Philharmoniker. Since 1937 they made historical recordings of Bruckner and the classical repertoire, that could compete with the famous Staatskapelle Dresden. In 1940 he became guest conductor of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin.

In 1942 he succeeded Herbert von Karajan as the Musical Director of the Sinfonieorchester Aachen. But the war circumstances ended midway 1944 German cultural life in the bombarded Roman city Aachen.

He also conducted the Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest (1941-2), but after the war the Dutch regarded the naturalised German as a former Nazi collaborator. He thus first conducted in France and Italy. And here he showed all (and for all the Dutch) that he could compete with giants like Toscanini and Klemperer.

In 1949 he was appointed as the conductor of the Dutch Radio Philharmonisch Orkest in Hilversum. Here he recorded in the Hilversum Radio studios broadcasts without audience. But when he early 1951 was invited to conduct a series of concerts with the prestigious Amsterdam Concertgebouworkest with public, riots broke out that forced him to leave the podium. He returned to the Radio Philharmonisch Orkest, where he could without life audience be heard via the wireless radio. And his life radio recordings could compete with the Concertgebouworkest under Eduard van Beinum. He also became a guest conductor in Bremen.

He died 8 December 1955 in Amsterdam at age 62, after an operation on his liver.


On 15 Augustus 1941 he married the German Marie Gertrud Hegenbart. They got no children.

In 2007 Kees de Leeuw wrote his "conducting is not a vocation, but a mission" about his life and work: Dirigeren is geen beroep maar roeping. Leven en werk van Paul van Kempen (1893-1955).

Link to Wikipedia


  • other associate with Haitink, Bernard (born 4 March 1929). Notes: Followed Van Kempen up


  • Death of Significant person 12 January 1932 at 11:30 PM in Leiden (Jan Gerbrand Striening (1860- 1932) DR)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Social : Joined group 15 November 1932 (Naturalised as a German citizen to germ (spring seed) as a conductor)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Relationship : Marriage 15 August 1941 (German Marie Gertrud Hegenbart)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death of Mother 28 May 1942 in Brummen (28 May 1942, Leuvenheim/Brummen))
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Work : Fired/Laid off/Quit 28 January 1951 in Amsterdam (Was denounced as Nazi collaborator Source)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.
  • Death by Disease 8 December 1955 in Amsterdam (after liver operation)
    chart Placidus Equal_H.

Source Notes

Koppejan quotes Mucipal Archive for 16 May 1893 at 03:00 AM Zoeterwoude in Beeldgids van de dierenriem.

Muziekencyclopedie - Paul van Kempen

KNAW: Kempen, Paulus van (1893-1955)


  • Traits : Mind : Child prodigy (very talented violinist, first lessions at age 7, at age 13 first solo perfomances.)
  • Traits : Personality : Ambitious (felt called to be and wanted to be a great conductor at early age and became a great conductor.)
  • Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Fourth of thirteen children)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Conductor
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (very talented violinist)
  • Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession (conductor)