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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Kuijken, Wieland

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Wieland Kuijken (b1938)


One of the great pioneers in post-war performance of early music in the Low Countries, Wieland Kuijken is, like his brother Sigiswald, known as a revivalist of the viola da gamba. During his years of training in Bruges, then Brussels, Wieland pursued an eclectic repertoire, including performing with contemporary music group Musiques Nouvelles. He was, at the same time, teaching himself to play the viola da gamba and spent over a decade playing with the Alarius Ensemble, which specialised in French Baroque music. Much of his performing has been with his brothers Sigiswald and Barthold, to great critical acclaim; he has participated in numerous early music festivals and has taught widely, including at the conservatories of Antwerp, The Hague and Brussels.

On record, Wieland Kuijken’s viola da gamba playing is instantly recognisable and he must take a considerable amount of credit for developing the aesthetic we associate with period instrument performance of early repertory. Of course it is hard to know the extent to which the performance decisions (based on scant paper evidence) of the Kuijkens and their associates bear much relationship with early performing practices, but this is not a criticism. Like his Spanish counterpart Jordi Savall, Wieland demonstrates complete ease with the instrument: in his hands—and with some judicious use of selective, accentual vibrato—its wide tonal range is apparent, including the reedy sound we perhaps associate with it most of all.

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Béla Bartók - Kossuth



 

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