In a short period of time, Gert van Hoef has gone from a 14 year old just learning to read music to an accomplished organist who has a large following in The Netherlands, and internationally on YouTube. Below, in his own words, is Gert’s
story as it appeared in the December, 2012 issue of "Nederlands Dagblad". (translated from the original Dutch)
Gert van Hoef talks about his life and his love of music:
"DVORÁK'S LARGO MOVES ME"
Young people today. Who are they?
van Hoef (18) from Barneveld. He studies in
high school 5th grade. When he was 14 he discovered the organ. Now, four
years later, he plays at church services and gives concerts. ~ Linda Stelma
“I am born in Barneveld, in the same house where I'm living now. I have a 20
year old brother and three younger sisters at the age of 13, 10 and 6.
Everyone still lives at home. That's nice. I often get along with my 13 year
old sister. She attends the same high school, the Johannes Fontanus College.
She's in 2nd grade. We practice theater lessons together at school. We also do
sports together like ping-pong. Before, I was spending more time with my
older brother, but now at daytime he's working a lot.
When I'm back from school, I often drink tea with my grandmother. She's very
nice. I regularly go to my other grandparents. They are living in Voorthuizen. My grandfather was an organist. He encouraged
me to play the organ. He said: “Gert, go for it!” Now
I play the organ better than he does, because I studied so much.
Sometimes, I teach my grandfather. We have built a good relationship working
together. I also have a good relationship with my father. He says he's my
Before I was involved with organ and piano, I was often at my computer. I loved
composing short songs and tunes. I used the computer program FL -Studio. It has
so many tools to build your own songs. The best was writing the piano part. You
play the piano keys with the computer keyboard. My first song was Silent
Night. I played it with two fingers. I wrote that song and then thought: “Hey,
I can do it”.
My grandparents let me use an Eminent
electronic organ. A few months later, I saw the Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D
minor on YouTube. I thought: “That would be a
nice challenge!” I worked immediately like a fanatic, listening at the
music and writing it with the A to G letters. After two months, I was able to
play the whole toccata and fugue. During an open
day, I had the opportunity to play this music on the organ of the 'Old Church'
in Barneveld. The organist asked: “For how long do you play organ? You should
take lessons!” Then, I had organ lessons.
At the beginning, I played at least five hours a day. Some
days, twelve hours. Organ came at the first place, even before eating.
When you're playing, you forget about time. You get into some kind of trance.
When I came home from school, I put aside my homework and continued
playing the organ. I liked it so much. I studied with several organ
teachers. And the moment I'm studying with Herman van Vliet.
He is one of the best. I also receive music lessons by a former Italian
conductor. He is preparing me for the music conservatory. I regularly give
concerts. I play music composed by Jan Zwart, Feike Asma, Bach, Buxtehude, Widor, Dvorák.
The Dvorák's Largo
from the New World Symphony is solemn
and peaceful with its long chords. It moves me. Often I play the piano
too. I think that this instrument is just as beautiful as the organ.
I got a job at the Eminent organ showroom at the Concertstage 'De Punt' in Voorthuizen.
I demonstrate these organs and give concerts. I also play sometimes at school,
on a grand piano. The students come and stand around the piano. They like it.
I play the organ and piano well, but keep "both feet on the ground".
I only can be thankful for my talent. Music is a good way to express my faith.
I attend the services at the Reformed Church in Voorthuizen
and play during the worship services. I believe that if you really want it, you
will surely meet God once. I hope that I will once be a professional
concert organist, maybe in ten years time. I want to share the emotion.
I think it is beautiful to be able to move people, and give them something
special, preferably in the faith. God speaks through the music”
Update: In the fall of 2013, Gert began studies at The Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Netherlands