Jacobus Kloppers (born 1937 in Krugersdorp, South Africa) served as Professor of Organ and Musicology and Chair of the Music Department at The King’s University College (currently The King’s University) in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada since its founding in 1979 until 2008. Until his retirement in 2013 he continued as Full-time Lecturer in Organ and Musicology at King’s as well as Adjunct Professor in Keyboard at the University of Alberta (a position he held since 1997).
After completing his undergraduate work and Organ Licentiates in South Africa he continued his studies in Frankfurt/Main: Organ with Professor Helmut Walcha at the Musikhochschule (1961-1965) and Musicology at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University (1961-1966). His doctoral thesis (under the supervision of Professor Wilhelm Stauder), was distributed by Bärenreiter Antiquariat, and focused on the performance of Bach’s organ music.
From 1966- 1976 he taught Musicology and Organ at the University of the Orange Free State in Bloemfontein, South Africa (as full Professor since 1970). He gave organ recitals in South Africa, Canada, West Germany and Austria (1966-1985), including broadcast work for the SABC and CBC. Related work includes that of church organist, jury member for the University of South Africa overseas scholarships, examiner for the Western Board of Music, Canada, composer and organ consultant (23 projects). Since 1966 he gave lectures in South Africa, Canada, West Germany and Austria on the performance of Bach organ music, on Musical Rhetoric and Symbolism in the Baroque with special reference to Bach’s organ works.
Jacobus Kloppers has been organist/choir director in South Africa (1956-1961, 1966-1976), Frankfurt/Main in West Germany (1961-1966) and St. John the Evangelist (Anglican) in Edmonton, Alberta (1976 to present).
In South Africa he also served on the Committee for the Revision of the Afrikaans Hymnal (1969-1976) and was co-editor for the first two of a series of liturgical organ music albums.
In addition to his work at King’s University, he taught Organ privately in Edmonton since 1976. He served on the jury for the Tribach Festival Scholarship competition in Edmonton, 1985, and on various juries for the Johann Strauss Scholarship competitions since 1977. He was a member of the Organ Advisory Committee of the Winspear Centre, Edmonton (1994-2002) and in the summer of 2002 oversaw the final voicing of its new Davis Concert Hall Organ (built by Orgues Létourneau, St. Hyacinthe, Quebec).
Jacobus Kloppers is a member of the Canadian League of Composers, The Edmonton Composers Concert Society, “New Music Edmonton”, Associate Member of the Canadian Music Centre, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Canadian College of Organists. In June 2008 he was inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame in the Builder Category. In 2015 he received an Honorary Membership from the South African League of Church Organists (SAKOV).
His compositions (around 75) include works sponsored by Canada Council, CBC, The Royal Canadian College of Organists, the Marjorie Young Bell Fine Arts and Music Fund at Mount Allison University, Sackville NB, the South African Foundation for the Creative Arts, churches and various private sponsors. These comprise organ solo works for liturgical and concert use, an organ concerto, alto-saxophone concerto, various anthems and choral music, two organ suites for organ duet, “Reflections” for piano solo, “Jack and the Bean Stalk” for organ and narrator, “Celtic Impressions” for organ solo, as well as a “Triptych:Carolingian Temperaments” for organ and alto-saxophone. His music is published in Canada, United States and South Africa and a number of these appear on 18 Compact Discs (including the German “Querstand” label) or on Youtube. His music has enjoyed performances in greater Europe, North- and South America, Hong Kong and South Africa and broadcasts on CBC, SABC, Radio Netherlands, Polish Radio 2 and Minnesota Public Radio.
The “Canticle of the Sun“, for mixed chorus, brass and organ was commissioned by The Friends of the Winspear Centre, Edmonton and performed at the inaugurational gala of the Davis Organ, September 14, 2002. With a travel grant from Canada Council the composer attended the performance of his “Te Deum” for Mixed Choir, Organ and Timpani in May, 2005 by the Polish Chamber Choir (Polski Chor Kameralny;director Jan Lukaszewski) at the 15th Gaude Mater International Festival of Religious Music in Czestochowa, Poland. The performance was broadcast on Polish Radio Program 2 in August 2005. At Polish saxophonist Dariusz Samol’s request, the organ-saxophone “Triptych: Carolingian Temperaments” was reworked, expanded and orchestrated in 2005 as a Concerto for Alto-Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra (“Concerto in Quattro Umori”). The first two movements of the concerto premiered at the 4th International Saxophone Festival in Szczecin, Poland on April 8, 2006 with soloist Dariusz Samol and the “Orkiestra Opery na Zamku” under the direction of Jacek Kraszewski, in a program called “Canada Meets Poland” sponsored by the Edmonton Composers Concert Society and the Canadian Embassy. The entire concerto (all 3 movements) received its North American premiere at the Edmonton Composers Concert Society sponsored concert “New Music Alberta 2008-09”, Convocation Hall, University of Alberta, February 15, 2009) with Charles Stolte (Alto Saxophone) and the Edmonton Chamber Players under the direction of Polish Maestro Jacek Rogala.
Jacobus Kloppers remains active as Church Organist and Choir Director, Organ teacher, and he serves on committees including the Edmonton RRCO (Scholarship Coordinator). He continues to compose music for organ, piano, piano-organ combinations, organ-saxophone combinations, an art song cycle, and newly, also orchestral works, in addition to private commissions (2019).
Studies of Jacobus Kloppers’ compositional work:
A stylistic analysis of his solo organ music was done in a Master of Music thesis by Christiaan H. N. Carstens (1995, in Afrikaans): Carstens, C.H.N. 1995a. Die orrelwerke van Jacobus Kloppers (1937): ŉ stylstudie. MMus-skripsie. Universiteit van Port Elizabeth, 1995.
Du Plooy, Louis Johan. Jacobus Kloppers: A Life of Service in Music. Unpublished Mini-dissertation, Magister Musicae University of the Free State, November 2013.
Eigelaar, Anna-Marie Luzanne. ‘n Ondersoek na die toepassing van die konsep “dialektiek” in die Dialektiese Fantasie van Jacobus Kloppers. [An enquiry into the application of the concept “dialectic” in the Dialectic Fantasy of Jacobus Kloppers] B.Mus Hons Essay, Free State University, South Africa, October 2013.