1925 – 1994
1925 – 1994
Jan Vermulst was born in 1925 at rural Stiphout, the Netherlands. After his musical education and orgain training at Tilburg conservatory, he studied the theory of composition with Oscar van Hemel.
Before the Second Vatican Council he mainly composed sacred choral music in Latin. One of his first motet cycles received an award in 1954 at the Maastricht composition competition.
In the early sixties, the opportunity emerged to create liturgical music in the vernacular language and Jan Vermulst took advantage of this opportunity, composing very quickly and with great skill. His music was well received and performed in many churches.
At that time an American music editor invited him to compose in English for the U.S. Catholic church. He wrote a Mass setting and various hymns, resulting in an uninterrupted and fruitful cooperation. The “People's Mass Book,” psalms, motets, and the “Mass for Christian Unity” are today still sung with great enthusiasm.
Jan was invited to the United States to give choral and organ presentations, to speak as a panel member, to be on a music jury, and to give organ recitals in Louisville, Cincinnati, Portland, and Rutherford.
The total of his religious compositions, national and international, amounts to more than 300 works, published by some ten music publishers. Also, his secular choral songs, with very attractive folksong arrangements from many countries, must also be mentioned.
Jan’s music ministry as choirmaster and organist at the parish of Our Lady at Helmond, the Netherlands, has to a large extend contributed to the fact that most of his compositions genuinely testify to an artistic usefulness, eminence, smooth melody construction, without extreme or artificial ‘tour de force’.
Jan Vermulst was a man with a generous Burgondian streak, affable and friendly and always willing to give well-founded advice to choirs and choral directors. He died on February 4, 1994, at Helmond after a lifetime dedicated to music as composer, choral director, organist, and teacher.
Tribute prepared by the Jan Vermulst Foundation.