Wieland Kuijken, Viola da gamba (Belgium)

Wieland Kuijken was born in 1938 in Dilbeek, near Brussels, to a family with longstanding musical interests on both the maternal and paternal sides. He was 14 years old when his family moved to Bruges, a city known for its rich cultural life. One year later, he quit school and devoted himself to studying the cello and the piano. He graduated from the Brussels Conservatory in 1962 with a diplôme supérieur in cello. In the course of his studies, he taught himself to play the viola da gamba, and became interested in the performance practices of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

His career in early music began with L’Ensemble Alarius de Bruxelles (from 1959 to 1972). At the same time, he expressed his great interest in avant-garde music with the ensemble Musique Nouvelle. His international reputation was established through numerous concerts and recordings made with his brothers Sigiswald (violin) and Barthold (flute), as well as Gustav Leonhardt, Frans Brüggen, Alfred Deller, Anner Bijlsma, and other celebrated musicians.

Wieland Kuijken is well known as a teacher. He taught viola da gamba from 1972 until 2003 at the conservatories of Brussels and The Hague; throughout these thirty years he trained professional gambists from all over the world. He has also given many master classes at Innsbruck, in the United States, and in Japan. He regularly participates as a jury member for international competitions (Bruges, Paris, Amsterdam, Boston, Utrecht, Leipzig, etc.).

He is a founding member, with his brothers, of the orchestra La Petite Bande and the Kuijken String Quartet. From 1988 until 1992, he directed the Collegium Eurapae (concerts and recordings in Poland, Germany, Holland, and Belgium). He counts among his achievements an important discography devoted to chamber music and the viola da gamba repertoire. As a cellist, his interpretations of the suites by Bach are famous. He has also recorded the three sonatas for viol and harpsichord with his son Piet as harpsichordist (Arcana). Mr. Kuijken is a frequent guest conductor for various projects in Europe and elsewhere.