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Biography

Paulus Folkertsma was born on January 15, 1901, at Wommels. In 1906 the family moved to Berlikum, where he got his first violin lessons from the local school teacher. On the age of 14 Paulus Folkertsma went to the College of Education for teachers at Maastricht.
From that moment on music assumed an ever growing importance in his life and he wrote his first compositions. He finished his study by obtaining his teacher’s certificate.
After temporary appointments in Leeuwarden and Sondel he became a school teacher at the public primary school in Aldeboarn, where he worked for over 40 years.
In 1956 he married Helga Khek from Vienna; they had 4 children. Paulus Folkertsma died on May 4, 1972, in Aldeboarn.

As a composer Paulus Folkertsma was entirely self-taught.
An autodidact, who mastered the art of composing by an iron will, driven by a great scientific interest, unflagging enthusiasm and a natural talent.

After Jacques Vredeman, Paulus Folkertsma is undoubtedly the most important composer Friesland has brought forth..

Paulus Folkertsma left 77 official opus numbers, the actual number is over one hundred.
It concerns songs, works for organ, works for symphony-orchestra, cantatas, operettas and chamber music for the most diverging complements.
It is not easy to describe the style of Folkertsma. His musical language is far from modern. He knew that very well himself. In a word of thanks in 1971, during a concert on the occasion of his 70th birthday, Paulus Folkertsma emphasized that he had remained a romanticist pur sang, despite of the big developments that music went through in the 20th century.
He wanted to point out that he was influenced by J.S. Bach and the Viennese classics, and that the musical language of the impressionists and later styles had passed him by.
His work testifies to an inner stress and emotionality, which he wanted to “control” through his music.
The fact that he has strong roots in tradition does not mean, however, that his work doesn’t bear something special of his own; in his songs passages can be found which can be accounted the most inspired ones, ever composed on a Frisian text.