The Kennedy Center

Bernard Wagenaar


American violinist, composer and conductor Bernard Wagenaar was born in Arnhem, The Netherlands in 1894. In Utrecht he studied violin with Gerard Veerman, piano with Lucie Veerman Bekker, and composition with his father, Dutch composer Johan Wagenaar. After conducting and teaching in The Netherlands, Wagenaar settled in the United States in 1920 and served as violinist with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 1927 he became an American citizen and joined the faculty of the Juilliard School of Music in New York, teaching fugue, orchestration and composition. Dutch conductor Josef Willem Mengelberg performed Wagenaar’s Symphony No.1 with the New York Philharmonic in 1928 and two years later introduced the Sinfonietta to New York audiences. Then, in 1932 Toscanini performed Wagenaar's Symphony No. 2 with the New York Philharmonic. Under the direction of Albert Stoessel, Symphony No.3 was performed by the Juilliard Graduate School Orchestra in 1937.

Wagenaar's work followed along neo-classical lines and encompassed chamber, orchestra, piano and organ. His commissions include those from the Cincinnati Orchestra, the Netherlands American Foundation and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Bernard Wagenaar


  • Feuilleton
  • Song of Mourning