Ton Koopman

Dutch organist, harpsichordist and orchestra conductor (1944, Zwolle, Netherlands)

Ton Koopman studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam, the organ with Simon C. Jansen and harpsichord with Gustav Leonardt at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. He founded his first ensemble, Musica da Camera, in 1966 and a baroque orchestra in 1970, Musica Antiqua Amsterdam, of which he is the music director. At the same time, he launched his international career as an organist and an harpsichordist and incidentally worked with musicians like René Jacobs, Jordi Savall, Hopkinson Smith and with the Collegium Vocale of Ghent. He is also the guest of many prestigious and international orchestral formations like the Mozarteum of Salzburg, the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, the MDR Sinfonie Orchester or the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne (of which he was appointed permanent guest-conductor).

In 1979, he founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and took that opportunity to specialize in the repertoires of the 17th and 18th centuries, giving a crucial place to the instruments' authenticity and priority to the quality of the interpretation. In 1992, he carried on his work with the Amsterdam Baroque Choir and in 1994, he conducted the two ensembles for a recording of the complete cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach. As a soloist, he recording almost at the same time the composer's complete work for organ. 

Ton Koopman was one of the first performers to understand and defend the importance of the old touch, that he exhumed thanks to precious research on ancient manuscripts. Therefore, he favors the ancient instruments (or copies) when he gives or conducts his concerts in the entire world.

Six landmark dates in the life of Ton Koopman

1968: first Prize of continuo basso at the Harpsichord International Competition of Bruges
1979 : founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.
1980-1981: big tour in Japan and in the United States.
1994 – 2004: recorded the complete cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach           2000 : receives the doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Utrecht to reward his scientific work on Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas and passions.  
2005 : directed and interpreted the Organ Concerto No. 1 of Joseph Haydn with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in the Olivier Messiaen room.

Radio France documentation biography, January 2016.