The timeline provides an overview of important events in the (working) life of Majoie Hajary in 96 windows. The timeline is not yet finished and will be updated continuously. Additions are welcome. On the map the countries where she lived,  worked and found inspiration.     

When did Majoie Hajary (1921-2017) receive her first piano lessons, when did she create her first composition, who were her teachers, which musicians did she draw her inspiration from and to what extent did her private life – her marriage to Roland Garros, director of Air France – or her performings during the war, influence her career?

The Timeline provides an overview of important and controversial events in Majoie Hajary’s (working) life in 96 windows. Includes photos, programme booklets and correspondence.

This information is available before publication of the biography in late 2024 only under strict conditions. Please contact Ellen de Vries: ellen@ellendevries.nl

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Place entering of leaving Suriname in the past

Majoie Hajary's ancestors  were enslaved and indentured persons from Africa, China and India. They entered Suriname by ship at Braamspunt. Until 1954 Surinam was a colony of the Netherlands, in that year it obtained internal autonomy. In 1975, after about 300 years of colonial repression, Surinam became an independent republic. Source: map from the Royal Library in The Hague. Lithogr. P. Lauters, text P.J. Benoit.

1921 August 16
Born: Marie Majoie Hajary

Marie Majoie (nickname Rieke, later Majoie) is born in 1921 in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname. She is the eldest daughter of Harry Najaralie Hajary (1892-1959) and Philippintje (Mien) Wilhelmina Albertina Tjong-Ayong (1896-1976). The music of her Afro-Surinamese, Hindustani and Chinese ancestors is a source of inspiration for her later compositions. See the Family tree.

Cultural life Paramaribo

Theatre companies from the Netherlands often visit the colonies. In 1934, the Amsterdam acting couple Elly van Stekelenburg and Jan Mulder hear Rieke play the piano during their theatre tour. They tell her parents, with whom they become friends, to be impressed by her playing. In September 1936 Rieke graduates from secondary school. A future in music is obvious.
Photo Arch. Gooi & Vechtstreek, coll. Elly van Stekelenburg: the theatre company with on the right Elly Fernandes, next to her Elly van Stekelenburg, second from the left Majoie armed with actor Jan Mulder in social club The Park, Paramaribo.

Late 1941s
Nederlandsche Omroep for toddlers

Majoie participates in the programme for toddlers of the Nederlandsche Omroep: 'Kleuterliedjes- en Melodietjes'. It is under the supervision of Jet Corbelli, an acquaintance of her foster mother Elly van Stekelenburg. Jan Mulder contributes to radio plays for the same broadcasting company. On 12 November 1941 Majoie will register her compositions and texts wit the copyright office Buma/Stemra, such as 'Seven songs after famous fairy tales' and 'Regenprinses'. See DATABASE. Still from the Youtube film Beeld en Geluid Kleuterklas Tante Jet (1942).

1944 January
Indepence movement India

In January 1944, Majoie returns to the Netherlands. In Hilversum she meets members of the propaganda station Azad Hind Radio, to whom she had previously given an interview in Berlin. Leader of the Azad Hind movement is Subhas Chandra Bose, who, in order to achieve his goal of an independent India, concluded a pact with Hitler. His Freies Indien Legion fights on the side of the Nazis. After the war, Majoie is questioned about this period. She declares that she had only made music, but had never been politically active, and after questioning by the Dutch judiciary and police in 1945 and 1949, she is 'unconditionally' excluded from prosecution. Postage stamp with the emblem of Azad Hind.

Annette Dieudonné

Majoie's workbook for the solfège lessons with Annette Dieudonné: Nadia Boulanger's right-hand woman. Majoie writes in her workbook: 'Mademoiselle Dieudonné je vous aime.' Later, Dieudonné writes a recommendation in 'L'art du Piano', Majoie's self-published textbook of solfège and harmony exercises in 1989. See DATABASE.

1954 July

In July 1954, Majoie gives a recital in the Theatre Municipal with the cooperation of l'Ecole Nationale de Musique and the director of the school, M. Djemil. She plays compositions by Georges Arnoux, Albeniz and herself. 

New Sound from India

'New Sound from India', released by CBS at the end of the 1960s, includes not only 'Korokuen' but also 'La Nostalgie', 'Raga Lilavati', 'Raga Joy' and 'Raga Wasardari', inspired by Indian ragas. The album is recorded in France in collaboration with drummer Christian Garros (member of the music collective Play-Bach and a cousin of her husband), bassist Pierre Michelot and artistic director Jean Eckian. Music critic Frank Onnen notes in the Gooi- and Eemlander of 27 March 1969 that the album attracted 'strong attention' from the press in France. The 'kind of marriage' between eastern and western sounds, he calls 'pioneering work'. Onnen: 'Majoye [sic] Hajary who grew up with the ragas as a child, but followed her musical education in Amsterdam as the fruit of an east-west marriage, was thus almost predestined from the cradle to bring this union about.' 

Chants du Gita Govinda

In 1974, the French record label Le chant du monde releases 'Le Gita-Govinda - Chant d'amour de Krishna' from the poet Shri Jayadeva in the French translation by Marguerite Yourcenar, read by Maurice Béjart and sung by Savitry Nair. The album is attributed to her, but there is no reference to Majoie Hajary on the cover, although her music has been registered. In her archive we also find compositions with the names 'Chants de la Gita Govinda' (1971) and 'Krishna Govinda - Poppastorale'. See DATABASE


Majoie composing with the grand piano in the background in Neuilly.


25 August 2017 Majoie Hajary, aged 96, dies in her home in Neuilly-sur-Seine (near Paris), where she lived the last years of her life and where she is also buried. In her coffin a jar filled with Surinamese earth. On her marble tombstone is inscribed for all eternity: 'Majoie HAJARY, Mme Roland GARROS Pianist - composer 1921-2017.' Was her life dedicated to a muse who had left her a bit out in the cold? Majoie Hajary already stated in 1972: a composer is only appreciated when he is dead. 

In compiling this site, great care was taken to ensure that names, sources and copyrights were mentioned. Should you come across or recognise any of your own work without your name being mentioned, please contact the site administrator Ellen de Vries.


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