Barthold Kuijken, baroque flute (Belgium)

Barthold Kuijken (baroque flute and recorder) was born in 1949; he grew up in a musical environment: two of his elder brothers were studying music and became increasingly interested in early music and early instruments. He studied modern flute at the Bruges Conservatory and the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and The Hague. For playing early music he originally turned to the recorder, but while still studying, he had the good fortune of finding a splendid original baroque flute, which became in fact his best teacher. Research on authentic instruments in museums and private collections, frequent collaboration with various flute and recorder makers, and assiduous study of 17th- and 18th-century sources helped him to specialize in the performance of early music on original instruments.

At the same time, on the Boehm-flute, he was a member of the Brussels-based ensemble “Musiques Nouvelles”, focusing on avant-garde music. Soon he started to play with his brothers Wieland (viola da gamba and baroque cello) and Sigiswald (baroque violin and viola da gamba), with René Jacobs (countertenor), Paul Dombrecht (baroque oboe), Lucy van Dael (baroque violin), and with the harpsichordists Robert Kohnen and Gustav Leonhardt, more recently also Bob van Asperen and Ewald Demeyere. For many years he was baroque flutist in the orchestra “Collegium Aureum”, and he still holds this function in “La petite Bande”, the baroque orchestra conducted by his brother Sigiswald. He plays chamber music concerts all over the world, extending his repertory to early 19th-century music (with the fortepianist Luc Devos). He has recorded extensively for various labels (Sony classical, Harmonia Mundi – BMG, Philips – Seon, Accent, Arcana, Atma, Opus 111). Besides his activities as a flute (and recorder) player, he is appearing more and more often as a conductor. His scholarly work includes a new annotated Urtext edition of J.S. Bach’s flute compositions (for Breitkopf & Härtel). He teaches baroque flute at the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and The Hague, and is often invited to serve as guest professor or as a jury member in international competitions.

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