Jos van Immerseel

Belgian Pianist and Conductor (b.1945, Anvers)

Jos van Immerseel is a consummate musician; he combines a complete mastery of all keyboard instruments with an advanced knowledge of the history of music. When he conducts Anima Eterna, a period ensemble, his grasp of the context of early music greatly enhances the orchestra’s performances.

Jos van Immerseel received a first class musical education in his native city where he studied piano, organ, harpsichord, theory, musical analysis, symphonic and choral conducting, singing, chamber music and composition. In 1963, the vomBlat International Piano Competition, organised by the Bavarian State Radio Orchestra, in Munich gave him the opportunity to demonstrate his score reading abilities. 

Jos van Immerseel's experience of playing period harpsichords combined to his collaborations with musicians such as Kenneth Gilbert, René Jacobs, the Kuijken brothers, Anna Bylsma and Paul Van Nevel led him to explore period music interpretation in final detail and to go on to independently study organology, classical rhetoric and the history of the piano. Jan van Immerseel was the only competitor to perform on an original instrument at the first International Harpsichord Competition held in Paris, in 1973; his instrument dated from 1780 rather than being a modern reproduction instrument. He unanimously won the Premier Prix, earning both the vote of the jury and the public.  

With his career as a soloist, chamber musician and conductor in full flight, Jan van Immerseel began to perform harpsichord recitals throughout Europe using instruments selected from his extensive collection according to the demands of the repertoire. His reputation as a teacher resulted in a number of international students seeking a place to study with him at Royal Conservatoire of Anvers where he taught using one of the finest period instruments, a 1747 Dulcken, preserved in perfect playing condition. He has also given many masterclasses throughout Europe, the USA and Japan. 

In order to further his musicological research Jos van Immerseel founded the ANIMA Eterna orchestra in 1987 with which he recorded not only the complete Mozart Piano Concertos and the symphonies of Schubert and Beethoven but also works by later composers such as Johann Strauss, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Debussy, Ravel and Carl Orff. The musicians play on period instruments from the regions specific to the works performed. These recordings and performances are frequently acclaimed by the international press. 

Six Landmark Dates in the Life of Jos van Immerseel
 1963 : Noticed as an excellent sightreader at the Munich Concours
 1964 : Founded the Collegium Musicum Ensemble
 1973 : unanimously awarded the Premier Prix by both the jury and the public at the inaugural International Harpsichord Competition in Paris
 1977 : His conducting of Monteverdi's Orfeo was praised
 1987 : Founded the Anima Eterna Orchestra
 2003 : the new Bruges Concertgebouw welcomed Anima Eterna as orchestra in residence.