Tera de Marez Oyens

Tera de Marez Oyens
(b. Velsen, Aug 5, 1932; d. Hilversum, Aug 29, 1996)

Dutch composer. She graduated from the Amsterdam Conservatory in 1953, where she studied piano with Jan Odé, violin lessons from Jan Henrichs and Camille Jacobs, and studied composition with Felix Hupka. After graduation she studied composition and orchestration privately for two years with Hans Henkemans. In the 1960s she became interested in electronic music and studied with Gottfried M. Koenig at the Institute for Sonology in Utrecht.

From the early 1980s until her death she was involved in the women’s movement in music, often representing Dutch women composers at international congresses. She also performed her own works for piano and conducted amateur and professional choirs and orchestras on an incidental basis. Throughout her life she lectured internationally on music education, group improvisation and the role of women in music, and wrote articles on these subjects.
According to Ellen Overweel; “In the early sixties – it was practically unheard of for women to have a job, let alone to be working as a composer. Nevertheless, she could not be bothered by the criticism in her social circle and she kept composing till the end. To her, making music in whatever form was a way to express her feelings, and to her there were ‘no differences between ‘male’ and ‘female’ compositions”

In 1975 she made her debut before the Overijssel Philharmonic Orchestra as their first female conductor and in 1977 the music academy of Zwolle appointed her as teacher of contemporary music.


Marez Oyens was a versatile composer with an output of over 200 works. Many of her compositions were commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Culture and various broadcasting networks. In 1995 she was commissioned to write Unison for the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. Most compositions of Tera de Marez Oyens have been published by the Dutch music publisher Donemus.

Sheet music


Further reading:

Ellen Overweel – “Tera de Marez Oyens”, in Metzelaar, H. et al., Zes vrouwelijke componisten (Six female composers) (Zutphen: Walburg Pers, 1991), p. 198-232.

H. Metzelaar: ‘Tera de Marez Oyens’ The Essential Guide to Dutch Music, ed. J. van der Klis (Amsterdam University Press, Amsterdam 2000). P. 243-246.

The Tera de Marez Oyens Foundation was established in 1998. It was the result of a joint initiative of Cor Witbraad (on behalf of copyright supervisor Buma/Stemra), Marten Toonder, and Tera’s children. After her death, they sought for a possibility to keep not only the cultural heritage of Tera alive through her compositions, but her ideas as well. The purpose of the foundation is to encourage composers of contemporary music, and to foster the public interest in the musical heritage of composer Tera de Marez Oyens.

Tera de Marez Oyens Foundation