Dutch music maestro Brueggen dies at 79

AFP, Wednesday 13 Aug 2014

Dutch conductor Frans Brueggen, a musician once recognised as one of the world's finest recorder players, has died at his Amsterdam home, his orchestra announced on Wednesday. He was 79.

The Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century did not release a statement, but posted a black-and-white photograph of their founding conductor hunched over sheet music, simply stating: Frans Brueggen, Oct 30 1934 - Aug 13 2014.

Dutch media said the famous conductor had been battling an unknown illness "for some time."

Brueggen was best known for forming the orchestra in 1981, which specialises in playing 18th and early 19th-century classical music on instruments from the time or replicas.

Brueggen was also "once regarded as one of the world's finest recorder players," according to the Bach Cantatas website and has worked his whole life to shed its image as being a child's instrument.

He and his orchestra performed Beethoven's complete symphonies, but also works by Bach, Purcell, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Haydn and Rameau.

He was considered a pioneer of the study of original scores and other historical sources to best understand the composers whose music he played, Dutch public television NOS said.

Born in Amsterdam, Brueggen studied the recorder and flute in the Dutch capital, before being appointed as professor at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague at age 21.

He later held the position of Erasmus Professor at Harvard University and Regents' Professor at Berkeley University, according to the Bach Cantatas website.

Brueggen also conducted other ensembles across Europe including the Paris Orchestra and the London Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Composed of 55 musicians from over 20 countries, the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century get together five times a year to conduct tours.

Short link: