Ton Koopman

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About Ton Koopman

Noted for his flamboyant ornamentation, fondness for lively tempi and cultivation of well-aerated musical textures, Ton Koopman is an instantly recognisable voice among followers of historically informed performance practice. Born in Zwolle in 1944, he numbered the influential harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt among his teachers, and in his mid-twenties founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra to complement a career as prize-winning organist and harpsichordist. In 1992 he enlarged the orchestra’s scope by forming a choir and, although he once regarded Mozart’s Requiem (1791) as the furthest he wished to stray from the Baroque, as a conductor he has been lured towards Mendelsohn, Weber and even Schumann. J.S. Bach, however, remains at the centre of his musical universe. As something of a completist, he found that after recording all Bach’s surviving sacred and secular cantatas, not to mention the large-scale choral works, he turned to the Opera Omnia of Buxtehude, a project surveying the complete works of Bach’s great predecessor across 30 discs. Although principally associated with period instruments, Koopman is never a musician to play it safe, increasingly finding himself in front of such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic and the Chicago and Boston Symphony Orchestras and, closest to home, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

Zwolle, The Netherlands
12 October 1944

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