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Bob Van Asperen (Harpsichord, Conductor)

Born: October 8, 1947 - Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Dutch harpsichordist, organist, conductor, clavichordist and early music-specialist, Bob van Asperen, completed a conventional university course of study in music before embarking on lessons with harpsichord master Gustav Leonhardt starting in 1967. He made his debut in Haarlem in 1968. Also in 1968 he joined the group Quadro Hotteterre, of which he was a member until 1984. He completed his studies in 1972 “with distinction”.after finishing a course in organ at the Amsterdam Conservatory given by Albert de Klerk.

After finishing his studies, Bob van Asperen accepted a teaching post at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He held this post until tapped to replace the departing Gustav Leonhardt at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he is now a professor of harpsichord. He is also a teacher at summer academies in Europe and Canada, the USA and Australia, where his master-classes attract students from all over the world. He was also a member of the jury at several important harpsichord competitions like Amsterdam, Paris, Nantes and Hamburg.

Bob van Asperen's teaching duties in Holland have not restrained him from touring internationally. He is a recognized specialist in the realm of performance on period keyboard instruments. His extensive knowledge of the repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries is reflected in his wideranging concert programmes. His repertoire on harpsichord, organ, and clavichord is expansive and ranges from the music of John Bull and Byrd to that of Padre Antonio Soler, and to J.S. Bach and his sons. In addition to concert engagements in Holland, foreign tours have included performances thourghtout Europe and the USA, Russia and Australia. From time to time he also conducts Baroque or Modern orchestras, appears in duo recitals with i.e. Anner Bylsma, Barthold Kuyken. .

Bob van Asperen has recorded the entire works of Antonio Soler on 12 CD's. He has also recorded the complete published keyboard output of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. He has recorded many of J.S. Bach solo keyboard works: The Well tempered Clavier Book I and II, The Toccatas (BWV 910-916) and Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), as well as the multiple keyboard concerti of Bach with his former professor Gustav Leonhardt. Among recent releases are J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerti Volumes I and II with his group Melante Amsterdam which he directs from the harpsichord. Among the record labels that he has recorded for are EMI, Sony, Virgin, Teldec, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, N.M. Classics, and Astreé. The solo recordings on CD he made for Astrée contain i.e François Couperin and Louis Couperin, Scarlatti and harpsichord music from the Netherlands mainly on historical instruments. His recordings have received much critical acclaim and got awards like the Edison Award, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Cecilia Prize, the Timbre d’Argent and the Diapason d’Or, or were nominated for prizes like the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis, Ondas de Musica and Gramophone Award.

In the field of musicology Bob van Asperen has prepared many editions and reconstructions of works by J.S. Bach (sonatas and concerti), and the Dutch composers Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Sybrandus van Noordt (the first Dutch harpsichord sonata, c1703), and Cornelius Thymenszoon Padbrué, of which he made a reconstruction of the first Dutch oratorio, the Tears of Peter and Paul, 1646 - on a text by Dutch "Price of Poets" Vondel.

Source: All Music Guide Website (Author: Uncle Dave Lewis); Sony Classical Website; Konzertagentur Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (October 2006)

Bob van Asperen: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bach's Inventions and Sinfonias | A Terrific Trio of Bach’s Well Tempered Clavier
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
Toccatas BWV 910-916 - played by Bob van Asperen

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Frans Brüggen


BWV 56, BWV 82

Gustav Leonhardt


Memberr of Leonhardt-Consort:
Cantatas Vol. 1: CD-3:
BWV 7, BWV 8, BWV 9; CD-4: BWV 10, BWV 12; CD-5: BWV 13, BWV 14, BWV 16
BWV 56
Cantatas Vol. 5: CD-5: CD-4:
BWV 91, BWV 92
Cantatas Vol. 6: CD-3:
BWV 107, BWV 113, BWV 114
Cantatas Vol. 7: CD-3:
BWV 127; CD-4: BWV 128, BWV 129; CD-5: BWV 132, BWV 133; CD-6: BWV 134, BWV 135
Cantatas Vol. 9: CD-6:
BWV 180

Links to other Sites

Bob van Asperen - Biography (AMG)
Bob van Asperen - Biography (Sony Classical)

Bob van Asperen, performer, early music and baroque music, discography (Goldberg)
Bob van Aspren (Konzertagentur)

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