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Edgar Palm

Edgar Rudolf Roemer Palm (Edgar Palm) was born in Curaçao on February 8, 1905. He was the second son (and second child) born to Rudolf Theodoor Palm (Dòdò Palm) and his wife Elvira Prais.
At six years of age he started studying piano and organ with his father and after this, following tradition, he also began taking violin lessons from Willem (Wewe) Hellburg. With his 11 years he was already replacing his father from time to time as organ player in the Protestant Church. At 14 he routinely accompanied various artists on the piano in Salon Habana and Teatro Naar.

In 1921 he went to Holland with a study grant from the government to attend the secondary school there and afterwards to study mechanical engineering, obtaining his degree at the M.T.S. (Intermediate Technical school) in 1928.

Apart from his studies he was also actively involved in music, studying with Dirk van Dam and Johanna Tabernal amongst others. In 1924 he formed his first ensemble and played at M.T.S. parties (a period during which he made many friends). In 1926 he played more serious music in public for the first time, first with a chamber concert accompanied by violinist Marinus Ogier (in later years director of the music school of ‘s-Hertogenbosch) followed later by a piano recital, during which he performed music by Grieg, Sinding and Rchmaninof.

In his graduation year he sent in a petition to the then Ministry of Colonies to allow him to remain in Holland for his own account in order to continue his studies in music. However, his request was not granted under the pretext that: ”the Government of Curaçao needed him to work at the Department of public works”. Once he arrived in Curaçao however, it turned out that there was no position open to him so initially he had to make a living giving music lessons, until in 1929 he went to work for the Shell (the former C.P.I.M.) This allowed him to study again with his father, who also introduced him to the 'secrets' of the ”Ka'i òrgel”. Apart from this he was also making an effort through self-tuition to gain more in-depth knowledge of the history of music, compositional theory and the theory of harmony.

His efforts were not in vain and in 1949 when in Holland he decided to sit for the state exam L.O. piano (in order to gauge his knowledge). On July 13 he passed his exam successfully at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In those days he was studying with Rudolf Feenstra and Everhard van Beijnum. Since that time he continued studying without interruption, as he not only enjoyed it but also considered it necessary in view of his many musical activities.

Here we can mention for example (making no claim to be exhaustive): accompanist of various artists from abroad, member of the ”Curacaosch Philharmonisch Orkest”, founder of the ”V-string Orchestra”, collaborator in the organization of youth concerts, 13 years as organist in the Santa Famia Church, 42 years as organist for the Jewish community ”Mikvé Israel”, musical producer for films, lecturer, musical critic for various newspapers, board member of the ”Curacaosche Muziekschool”, member of the Council for Cultural Affairs and first president of the Organization of musicians of Curaçao. In 1950 Antillean music was put on record for the very first time by Thomas Henriquez, for which the musical group ”Edgar Palm y Trio” was especially formed. In the course of time this group went on to produce 37 singles and 6 L.P.s. Edgar Palm also recorded Antillean music for German television, provided the music on occasions when members of the Dutch Royal Family and other dignitaries from the Kingdom and other countries visited the island. In the meantime he composed some fifty pieces.

In 1975 he was the recipient of the ”Cola Debrot” prize in honor of his many accomplishments in music, while in the course of the years he also received the following distinctions: ”Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau”, ”Orden Francisco de Miranda Tercera clase” (a Venezuelan decoration), ”Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau”, ”Orden Francisco de Miranda Primera clase”, with which he also became an honorary member of the ”Sociedad Bolivariana”.

His ties to the CCC-Music Academy, where he gave classes in piano, theory of harmony and ”Ka'i òrgel, date back to 1975. He continued with his classes until the summer vacation of 1997, when upon reaching home on his last day of work he fell and became disabled as a consequence. In the course of 1997 the Board of CCC approached him and obtained his permission for the Music Academy to use his name. From that moment on the Academy began carrying the name Edgar Palm as a tribute to him, not suspecting that he would die less than a year later.

On January 12, 1998 Edgar Palm died at the age of 92.

After the renovation of the CCC-complex and its classrooms was completed and following a ”Kariño Kultural” held at the end of February 1999, the lighted name-board at the entrance was officially unveiled. The widow of Edgar Palm together with their son Anthony Palm performed the official act, with which the CCC Music Academy now officially bears the name ”Edgar Palm”.

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