Robert de Roos was born on March 10, 1907 in Voorburg (The Hague suburb) and died there on March 18, 1976.
He studied piano, violin and viola at the Royal Conservatory and received composition lessons from Johan Wagenaar. Thereafter he travelled to Paris and studied privately with Darius Milhaud (composition), Isidor Philipp (piano), Charles Koechlin and Roland Manuel (canons) and Pierre Monteux (conducting). Later he studied with Hermann Scherchen (conducting) and Sem Dresden (orchestration).
As a composer Robert de Roos originally searched for a style that was influence by the German and French schools, but later he freed himself and found a personal style that was characterized by canon composition technique. In the period he wrote a number of work which he later withdrew from circulation. He felt that no single element could go by unnoticed when composing, a belief that led him to a more rich and colorful manner of composing. Clear examples of this are the Variations serieuses sur un theme ingenu, which he composed in 1947 and dedicated to the Residentie Orkest are from this last style period. Next to the many orchestra pieces and concertos, De Roos also composed an opera in one act, Die Vision and chamber music Sextuor for piano and wind instruments, art songs, theater music and a number of choral works.

From 1946 to 1956 he was the Cultural Attaché at the Dutch Embassy in Paris and in 1957 he was named Frist Secretary for Press and Cultural Affairs at the Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. In 1961 he was accredited with this same function in Bogota, Quito, La Paz and Lima. From 1967 to 1973 he was part of the Embassy council for Press and Cultural Affairs in Buenos Aires, also accredited to Asuncion (Paraguay) and head of the Dutch Information Bureau for Latin America. In 1973 he returned to the Netherlands.

Robert de Roos Centenary (1907 - 2007)

The Robert de Roos manuscripts are located at the Dutch Music Institute. His son Peter was initiator of the Robert de Roos Foundation in 2006. Members of the governing board include prof. dr. Emile Wennekes, Dr. Frits Zwart and Drs. Aukelien van Hoytema. The foundation's mission is to bring the composer's oeuvre under recognition, in the broadest sense. Historian - musician Jurjen Vis recently began writing a De Roos biography. In the last newsletter of the Friends of Dutch Music, Vis wrote a short pre-publication article. (
Information on the Robert de Roos Foundation is available at:

"About Robert de Roos. A complicated but very interesting case. He was 2/4 jewish (50%). Married with a German woman of noble descent: Chrtista von Falkenhayn. Her father, the famous general, had been one of the heroes of the World War I battlefield. Robert de Roos met lots of difficulties during the war, BUT... His wife was his strong and successful advocate. She intervened for his uncle and aunt Simons-Posthumus. With success, but alas they didn't dare to go with her and preferred to stay in the Hollandse Schouwburg and were transported to and killed in Sobibor. She intervened with the authorities for other members of the family and for her husband as well. He has been misleading the authorities in presenting a new family genealogy. In this document he proved one of his grandparents not being a jew. Consequently De Roos was 'only' 3/8 jewish and there were practically no limitations for him. He joined the Kulturkammer - although without filling in the essential receipts - and accepted several big commissions for symphonic works until the end of 1944. His works were performed until the beginning of 1945. After a short intermission De Roos was already active again in september 1945. He was the first attachee culturel of Holland abroad (in Paris) already from 1946 on. Although he had enemies and people who tried to blame him he was 'clean'. De Roos was befriended with several members of the dutch resistance and was taken into captivity himself. He spent one week in prison. Afterwards he and his family had to leave the house in september 1944 since the V-1installation was exactly put next to their home. He had to live with friends. Until september 1944 he had been an employee in a printing company. Due to lack of fuel and paper the company stopped business. From february 1945 on De Roos was active several months in the administration of food supplies (thrown out of airplanes by the allied forces and Swedish Red Cross). Altogether: which jew or half jew could dream of such a career during the war? De Roos didn't consider himself as a jew, although he had some affinities in reading the old testament. In his later years he was interested in Byzantium, the late roman empire and early christian Church. He bought icons (ikonen) and developed him self as a specialist. For his first and only opera he wrote the libretto himself. The vision, about two early christian martyrs."

Jurjen Vis (
Courrier privé du 13/06/2012