Bonn, Gerrit

b. Amsterdam, 9 November, 1901


Gerrit Bon’s musical career had at the outset the advantage of a musical father whose influence has stayed with him throughout his life. Willem de Vried (organ) and Leon Bouman (piano and violin) contributed to his musical growth and he progressed so fast at the age of 14 he was awarded the Netherlands Organ Diploma. On the strength of this he became organist at the Lutheran Church in Nijmegen and three years later he was a choral conductor and as assistant organist in Amsterdam. At this stage in his life however, legal studies took precedence, though he maintained his interest in music and even had lessons in certain technical aspects. At 21 he abandoned legal studies and emigrated to South African where he settled in Pretoria as a piano and organ teacher. Until he left the city 34 years later to settle in Salisbury (1957), Bon played a dynamic part in almost every form of serious music practiced in the capital. He improved his qualifications with the degree Mus. Bac. From the University of Durham in 1946, and composed a considerable amount of music.


Primarily Bon was an organist all his life. He commenced weekly recitals in the City Hall after a large new organ had been inaugurated. This led to his official appointment as City Organist in 1938. The climax of his organ career came in 1950 when he performed all Bach’s organ works in a series of 26 recitals to commemorate the composers 200th birthday. The venue for this series was the Presbyterian Church. He has since repeated the feat in Salisbury where he was given a total of 276 recitals, also including the complete organ works of Max Reger. 


From 1929 he was part-time lecturer in Music at the Pretoria Normal College and after 1935 he occupied the same position in a full-time capacity. The University of Pretoria has employed him as a part-time lecturer in Music since 1933, but in 1936 the University suspended the department. At the Normal College he inaugurated extra-mural classes in Music and created an Erato Choral Society for the College students. After a short interim (1960-1962) during which he acted as music master at the Boys’ High School in Pretoria, he finally settled in Rhodesia. He continued his career as organist at he Cathedral. 


At different times of his career Bon has been chairman of The South African Council for the Advancement of Music, director of the Pretoria Bach Society, chairman and member of the Afrikaans Kerkmusiekvereniging, vice chairman of the Radio Board and a member of the Editorial Board of Res Musicae.



Ons eie kerkkoorreeks, edited by Bon (no date): 

Verlossing (G.F. Handel) 

Prys U Naam, o Heer 

Maak my U wee bekend (Bon) 

Gebed (Bon) 

God is Gees (W. Bennett) 

Die woord van my mond (Bon) 

Jesus gaan ons voor (A Drese) 

Heilig, heilig, heilig (F. Schubert) 

Loflied (Bon) 

Seënded (Bon) 

Verbly julle (Bon) 

Spreuke 20 (Bon) 

Hoop op God (Bon) 

Die eerste Saligsprekinge 

Verontmoediging (Bon) 

Aandgebed (Bon) 

Die Koning van ere 

Barmhartigheid (Bon) 

Salig is die sagmoediges (Bon) 

Die Heer is getrou 

Boetelied (Bon) 

Lukas 19:10 

Barmhartig en genadig (Bon) 

Goedertierenheid (Bon) 

Bybelkantate. (1933) 

Bosmankantate (1933) 

Jubileumkantate (no date) 

Van Riebeeck Te Deum, for choir, soist and organ (1952) 

Voortrekker feessange, for choir and orchestra (1938) 

Die Voortrekker se vaarwel (Leipoldt) 

Nimmer of nou (A.G. Visser) 

Vegkop (Totius) 

Oggendskof (Theo Wassenaar) 

Ons loof U feestelik (Theo Wassenaar) 

Oproep (J.S. Barnard) 

Hou koers (Theo Wassenaar) 

By die mylpaal (Theo Wassenaar) 

Gebed van Paul Kruger, for choir and orchestra (no date) 

Voor in die wapad brand ‘n lig, for choir and orchestra (no date) 

Geloftelied (own text, 1933)


Theatre Music: 

Jarriage, opera in 3 acts, for soloists, choir and orchestra (1952) 

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