Constant van de Wall was born in Surabaya on Java, in the Dutch Indies. His father was a bookkeeper, who in 1882 came into a large inheritance. The family then moved to Holland. At the wish of his father Constant enrolled at a military academy, but soon broke off his training in order to follow his musical vocation. He started his professional studies with Antonie Ackermann in The Hague, then continued with Friedrich Gernsheim in Rotterdam and Berlin. Since 1895 Van de Wall was active as a teacher and conductor of choirs and a students’ orchestra. With considerable success he organized concerts in The Hague, which included his own compositions. Fruits of this period were compositions for piano, songs and orchestra works, as well as the opera Attima, which is set on Java. Characteristic is the use of exotic elements, mainly derived from Indonesian music. The Malay Songs op. 6 (published in 1913) have become widely known.