Liebe zur Orgel

Gerard Bunk is considered “one of the very great organ artists in the first half of the 20th century” (according to the standard work Handbuch Orgelmusik 2002). For Bunkʼs first biographer Rudolf Schroeder, “organ playing in such unprecedentedly crowded abundance as in Bunkʼs life ... [was] only possible through the perfection acquired from the piano at a young age”: indeed, Bunk enjoyed training as a pianist first in his native Rotterdam, then in England (allegedly with Mark Hambourg in London) and finally at the Hamburg Conservatory. He also remained a pianist throughout his life. At the organ he trained mainly through self-study, by, as he himself said, “listening, copying and imitating”. When in 1910, at the insistence of the Social Democrats, a “peopleʼs concert” was inserted at short notice as the first event of the Dortmund Max Reger Festival at a low admission price, the great moment of the twenty-two-year-old came: Read more

Chronological Table

Gerard Bunk is born in Rotterdam on 4 March, the youngest of seven (surviving) children of the school principle, music teacher and choral conductor Gerardus Cornelis Bunk and his wife Maria.

After first musical instructions from his father and after the five-year-old has been found to have absolute pitch awareness, he is taught to play the violin (which only lasts three years, “because much more talent for the piano and the organ”) and theory.

die geschwister bep dien gerard und alex bunk

Enrolment at the Rotterdam Conservatory of the Maatschappij ter bevordering der Toonkunst; Bunk studies piano with the pianist, choral conductor and composer Anton Verheij (1871–1924); for a short time also organ lessons with Johan Besselaar (1874–1952), but Bunk learns to play the organ mainly through self-study.
In the meantime, he attends secondary school, is an assistant organist in various Protestant churches and is head of the pupilsʼ section of the Koninklijke Zangvereeniging “Rotte's Mannenkoor”. Read more