The music publisher Molenaar was founded in 1933 by Pieter Jan Molenaar under the name Molenaar’s Muziekhandel. In the 1970s, his sons Jan and Bob joined the growing company. In that decade, Molenaar was one of the first music publishers to make studio recordings of published works. Leading orchestras such as the KMK and the Marinekapelle were involved.
In 1997 Bob left the company and Jan, together with his children Sander and Jon, continued the publishing work. Jan himself left the company in 2002, and from then on devoted himself to his musical passion as conductor of the Jan Molenaar Big Band, which he led for 45 years.
Jan Molenaar (1936) studied piano with Wim Meijns and Ber Joosen and completed his L.O. studies at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He also studied conducting and instrumentation with Gerard Boedijn and organ with Cor Kee. At the age of 17 he was appointed as the youngest conductor in the Netherlands to the fanfare corps ‘Eensgezind-heid’ from Wormer.
With the W.A.S.B.E. (World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles) he served as President from 1987-1989 and was made an honorary member in 1991. As a guest conductor, he has led the U.S. Air Force Band, the Purdue University Band, the G.U.S. Footwear Brass Band, and the famous Banda Primitiva of Lliria, Spain, where he was named honorary conductor. He has written a number of arrangements for brass and percussion bands. In 1996 Jan Molenaar was made a Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion.
Jan Molenaar passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday, January 21, 2021.