Fred Kaan (1929–2009)

Fred Pratt GreenBorn in Haarlem, Fred Kaan came to Britain in 1952 where he studied for the Congregational ministry, being ordained in 1955. Eight years later, a dearth of hymns relevant to the life of the eclectic congregation of Plymouth’s Pilgrim Church triggered the creation of a home-made hymn supplement, Pilgrim Praise, and his vocation thereafter as one of the twentieth century’s outstanding
hymnwriters.

Six collections of his work followed, and the inclusion of his texts in countless denominational hymnbooks throughout the world bore testimony to the influence of his internationalism, his faith in the modern city, and above all, perhaps, for his care for language and for precision in the use of it in each new searching statement of faith.

Fred Kaan notably collaborated with the Norwegian composer Knut Nystedt on their Magnificat for a New Millennium. In 2002 he was awarded the highest accolade of the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, the Chancellor’s Gold Medal, for his outstanding contribution in the fields of ecumenical relations and hymnody.