Jan Mulder is a world renowned composer, pianist and recording artist. He’s also a North Carolina Baptist. After recording more than 260 albums over a 20-year period, Mulder just released a Christmas album that includes his talented friend, Andrea Bocelli, with the London Symphony Orchestra.
He was born into a famous Dutch family of pastors, musicians and teachers. “When I was 17 years old, I went to the Conservatory in the Netherlands and received a classical education in music. I graduated in 1992,” Mulder said.
Several record producers asked Mulder to play the piano, compose and arrange music, or conduct orchestras and choirs for their CD productions in Europe. “Last year I decided to focus more exclusively on composing and arranging instrumental Christian music, because there are not enough people working in that area on a professional level,” he said. “God gave me a musical talent, and I would like to serve Him by using that talent for creating Christian-based music. I simply pray: Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.”
In 2013 he recorded “Love Divine,” an album that features many favorite hymns. It received a 2014 GMA Dove Award nomination for Best Instrumental Album of the Year. It rocketed to gold status, but has now reached double-platinum. “It is a very blessed project,” Mulder said. “I very much like traditional hymns like Abide with Me, Amazing Grace, As the Deer Pants for the Water, Great is Thy Faithfulness and Thine Be the Glory.”
Jan Mulder, known worldwide as a composer and pianist, has recorded 260 albums during the last 20 years. His latest is not only a 2014 GMA Dove nominee but it has reached double platinum status in sales.
He said it is very important to honor God with music. “It’s not about me and what I can do, but it’s about praising God. Actually, every minute that we live we have to think about [God’s greatness] and give Him the glory.”
The overwhelming response to his Love Divine album immediately prompted him to record a second Love Divine album. “But then I thought, my last Christmas album was 12 years ago, so it was time to do another Christmas album,” Mulder added. “So for many weeks I thought about the best tunes to include. I like the traditional Christmas carols like Silent Night, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night and many others. So I composed music for this album and arranged the music for piano and orchestra.”
With the simple title, “Christmas,” the album was released October 1, 2014. Mulder conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at Lyndhurst Hall in London and played the solo piano part simultaneously for the recording. It features traditional Christmas carols such as, O Holy Night, O Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night and Angels We Have Heard On High. In addition to famous traditional carols, he composed new music for “Christmas:” The Birthday of a King, Prince of Peace and Mary’s Lullaby.
The Dutch musician has recorded many albums with Christian artists. But the “Christmas” project includes guest artist Andrea Bocelli, arguably the most popular musician in the world. Bocelli sings A Choir of a Thousand Angels.
Mulder said, “Doing the album with Bocelli was kind of an experiment. But people like it very much because Bocelli is a very famous singer, and he is also a Christian.
He was born into a very warm Christian family in Italy. At a young age he learned to play many instruments. He played the organ at church, which he liked very much, so he did that for many years. He is involved in supporting pro-life organizations, and I think he is a wonderful Christian. I’ve known him for many years.”
The journey from the Netherlands to his current home in Hendersonville, N.C., was a circuitous route for Mulder and his family.
His first concert tour of the United States and Canada was in 1992. The Mulders liked what they saw and the people they met. Subsequent tours led them to consider a move. In 2007 he moved his wife and three sons to Holland, Mich., near Grand Rapids.
He said, “They are Dutch people [in the town], but it was very cold, so after two years we moved to Florida. We lived close to Orlando for two years, and it was too hot. So we bought a home in Hendersonville, N.C. three years ago. It’s a beautiful state, and we like the people here.”
The Mulders were members of Baptist churches in the Netherlands, so they began looking for a Baptist church near their new home.
“We really like hymns with an orchestra and piano, and very important, of course, is a good sermon,” he said. “We found First Baptist in Hendersonville. There was a very good preacher and now we have a new preacher, Steve Scoggins, and he is a wonderful pastor.”
Last year the church invited Mulder to present a premier concert of his “Love Divine” album. Again this year the church invited him to play a premier presentation of the “Christmas” CD. It is scheduled for all three Sunday morning services on December 14. Mulder will play for the first half of the service, followed by a sermon from pastor Steve Scoggins.
Stephen Cutchins, worship pastor of First Baptist Church (FBC), Hendersonville, said “Jan is a world class musician and a strong believer who worships regularly with us at FBC. It is a true honor to have such a gifted musician in our church who is focusing his projects on the truths we find in the Bible. I have found Jan to be a humble and gentle man and our congregation is looking forward to him sharing his music with us during the Christmas season.”
Albums, sheet music and listening samples are available at JanMulder.us, iTunes and Amazon. CDs may also be ordered by calling Miller Music at (615) 763-3886. For more information on the Dec. 14 worship services at FBC visit www.fbchnc.org.