Hekking, Gérard

Nancy, 22 August 1879
Paris, 5 June 1942

Gérard Hekking was born into an entire family of cellists from The Hague. First of all there were the brothers Robert and Charles who both taught at the Bordeaux Conservatoire. Robert had two sons who played the cello: Anton, who was chiefly active in Germany, and André, who was a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire and the American Conservatoire in Fontainebleau. In 1918 he teamed up with Alfred Cortot to give the first performance of Gabriel Fauré’s First Cello Sonata and in 1925 he played in the première of Fauré’s String Quartet.

Gérard was Charles’s son. He initially studied with his father and subsequently with Jules Delsart at the Paris Conservatoire. From 1903 to 1914 he was principal cellist of the Concertgebouw Orchestra. During this period he also taught at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He also formed a duo with Dirk Schäfer, who dedicated his Cello Sonata opus 13 (1909) to him. In 1914 Hekking, who possessed French nationality, was called up to serve in the French army. After the First World War he briefly returned to the Netherlands but soon settled down permanently in Paris. In 1921 he performed in the première of Gabriel Fauré’s Second Piano Quintet and in 1922 he gave the first performance of Fauré’s Second Cello Sonata with the pianist Alfred Cortot. In the Netherlands he played with musicians such as Henriëtte Bosmans, who dedicated her Trois Impressions for cello and piano (thought to be composed in 1926) to him. In 1927 Hekking was appointed as a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, where his students included Paul Tortelier and Maurice Gendron.

Gérard Hekking wrote a number of short pieces for cello and piano. His own recording of one of these works, Villageoise, has survived to the present day.
The Netherlands Music Institute is in possession of the following works:
Villageoise (Éditions du Magasin Musical Pierre Schneider, 1930)
Chanson mélancolique (Éditions du Magasin Musical Pierre Schneider, 1930)
Danse campagnarde (Durand, 1933)
Joujou mécanique (Durand, 1933)
Menuet de l’infant (Durand, 1933)
Menuet pour Casals (Durand, 1933)
Danse pour les Sakharoffs (Durand, 1933).

Joujou mécanique, Dance campagnarde, Danse pour les Sakharoffs: see Discography

(April 2007, revised August 2014)