Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was born into a German-Dutch family of musicians. His father, Engelbert Röntgen, was concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
In 1877, Röntgen faced the decision of moving either to Vienna or Amsterdam. He elected to go to Amsterdam, where he became a piano teacher at the music academy. This decision would shape the course of his life.
In 1884, there were plans to build a new concert hall, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, in which Röntgen was heavily involved. Four years later, Röntgen applied to become director of the Concertgebouw’s orchestra but was deeply disappointed when the violinist Willem Kes was chosen over him.
During that time, he also became friends with the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, whom he would frequently visit at his Troldhaugen residence in Bergen. In turn, Grieg came to Amsterdam on several occasions to perform at the Concertgebouw. The friendship with Grieg left a deep mark on Röntgen’s music.
Röntgen was a very productive composer. He wrote nearly 600 works, including symphonies, concertos, chamber music in various formations, songs, choral music and operas.