The Dutch composer, Henk Alkema, studied piano with Léon Orthel at The Hague Royal Conservatory of Music and conducting with Willem Frederik Bon.
After graduation an early apprenticeship was spent on tour as a jazz pianist and as composer/arranger/studio pianist for Dutch Radio and TV. Here begins the first of many recordings under his own name. Collaboration with singer and lyricist Hessel van der Wal led to a number of successful productions often featuring the Frisian language, a preoccupation that was to take an even more important step in the composition of his opera RIXT, years later. From 1974, and following the inspirational teaching of conductor Willem Frederik Bon and later influences of Zolt Deaky and Huub Kerstens, Henk Alkema concentrated more on conducting. Stints as conductor with the Sneeker Cantata Choir and the Frisian Symphony Orchestra, the "Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck" Symphony Orchestra (Amsterdam), the Frisian Wind Ensemble, the Concordia Concert Choir and almost all professional symphony orchestra's in The Netherlands. He began a serious commitment to teaching from 1978 at the Music Pedagogical Academy in Leeuwarden and continued with his appointment as chairman of the department of jazz and improvised music at the Utrecht Conservatory. As professor of composition and later as acting Dean of the Conservatory Alkema has found a most significant role in music education.
Compositional productivity has never suffered and a period as composer in residence to Sater (Amsterdam) and theatre group Theater (Arnhem) was followed by music theatre collaborations with Edwin Rutten and performances of Pepe and Kinderman. His series of lectures on composition for the department of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam reveals another side to this creative spirit. Compositional appointments at the famous Berklee College of Music and the University of Montana where he completed a commission for a series of song cycles based on American Indian poetry. The highly successful performances of his first full length opera RIXT will soon be followed by a second operatic effort Jealous God with texts by Mark Valencia.
He wrote the opera Bonifatius, commissioned by the Dutch government in 2004 which had 7 performances. All In Good Time was specially written for Harm Vuijk as a commission from the FST.