A nervous disorder in his right hand prompted him to create left-handed arrangements of over 80 pieces.
He took piano from Egbert Veen and Ulferts Schults and studied composition and conducting with Sem Dresden.
He was an advocate of contemporary Dutch music, especially after becoming musical director of the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation.
He died where he had been born: in Amsterdam.
He and Patricia Paay, both from the Netherlands, became known for their contributions to the musical arts.