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Gustav Leonhardt (Conductor, Harpsichord, Organ)

Born: May 30, 1928 - Graveland (near Hilversum), the Netherlands
Died: January 16, 2012 - Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The eminent Dutch organist, harpsichordist, conductor and pedagogue, Gustav (Maria) Leonhardt, studied organ and harpsichord with Eduard Müller at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis from 1947 to 1950.

Gustav Leonhardt made his debut in as a harpsichordist in Vienna in 1950. After studying musicology there, he served as professor of harpsichord at the Academy of Music from 1952 to 1955. He was professor of harpsichord at the Amsterdam Conservatory from 1954. He was also active as a church organist there.

Gustav Leonhardt made his first recordings of solo harpsichord music by J.S. Bach in the early 1950ís. These quickly established his reputation as an outstanding Bach interpreter. In 1954, with his Leonhardt Baroque Ensemble, he collaborated with the English counter-tenor Alfred Deller in recordings of J.S. Bachís Cantata BWV 54 and BWV 170. This early essay in historically aware performance style (HIP) - the ensemble included his wife Marie and Eduard Melkus (violins), Alice Hoffelner (viola), Nikolaus Harnoncourt (cello), and Michel Piguet (oboe) - may be justly considered an important torch-bearer in the new paths soon to be taken in Baroque interpretations. Since then Leonhardt has performed and recorded all the major solo harpsichord music of J.S. Bach. He made numerous tours of Europe and North America, mainly appearing as harpsichordist. He also led his own Leonhardt-Consort (replacing the Baroque Ensemble) on tours from 1955. An interesting curiosity about Gustav Leonhardt is that he was the main actor in the movie "Diary of Anna Magdalena Bach" (1967), playing and performing and above all personifying J.S. Bach.

In 1971 Gustav Leonhardt and Harnoncourt jointly undertook a project, completed in 1990, to record all J.S. Bachís sacred cantatas. Leonhardtís performances, in which his Leonhardt-Consort provided the orchestral nucleus, are elegantly shaped and often more restrained in expression than those of Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Gustav Leonhardt edited J.S. Bachís Die Kunst der Fuge, pieces by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, and other works.

More Photos 1 | More Photos 2

Source: Oxford Composer Companion - J.S. Bach (1999); Bakerís Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2001); Dr. Graziano Fronzuto (February 2002)

Gustav Leonhardt: Short Biography | Leonhardt-Consort
Recordings of Vocal Works:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Recordings of Instrumental Works
Discussions of Vocal Recordings:
BWV 232 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 244 - G. Leonhardt
Reviews of Instrumental Recordings:
Bachís Inventions & Sinfonias from Leonhardt | Leonhardtís Goldberg on Vanguard
Discussions of Instrumental Recordings:
GV BWV 988 - G. Leonhardt
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8
Table of recordings by BWV Number

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Jürgen Jürgens


Member of Concerto Amsterdam:
L-2 (1966-1967)
BWV 27, BWV 118, BWV 158

Jürgen Jürgens


Member of Leonhardt-Consort:
L-5 (1963):
BWV 182

Jaap Schröder

Organ, Harpsichord

Member of Concerto Amsterdam:
L-2 (1967):
BWV 59
L-3 (1966):
BWV 51, BWV 202 [w/ soprano Agnes Giebel]
L-4 (1965/1969):
BWV 89, BWV 90, BWV 161

Links to other Sites

Gustav Leonhardt - Biography (Sony Classical)
Gustav Leonhardt (biography) [Portuguese]
Discographie de Gustav Leonhardt
Gustav Leonhardt [Italian]
An interview with Gustav Leonhardt by Jan-Piet Knijff
Gustav Leonhardt
Arteduemila: Gustav Leonhardt [Italian]
BRAAVO! - Gustav Leonhardt
Biographie de Gustav Leonhardt avec [French]
AMARCORDES - Artistes - Leonhardt [French]
Le : Gustav Leonhardt parachève sa légende [French]
Gustav Leonhardt (JRP Dynu) [French]
Gustav Leonhardt (Howling Pixel)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
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Last update: Sunday, October 22, 2017 01:43