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Biography

Johannes Leertouwer, violinist and conductor.

Johannes Leertouwer is chief conductor and artistic director of the Nieuwe Philharmonie Utrecht.

In September of 2009, he conducted this orchestra in an exciting and much praised debut which featured a program of Stravinsky and Ravel and he will continue to lead the NPU. The orchestra performs on period instruments as well as repertoire of the nineteenth- and early twentieth century. It also features an extensive educational program, and clearly carries the signature of its chief conductor. Over the past nine years Johannes Leertouwer and his orchestra have produced a highly acclaimed series of concerts and special projects.

The annual performances of Händel’s Messiah and J.S. Bach’s Matthew Passion have received the highest praise in the press. Equally successful were performances of Brahms and Beethoven symphonies; de Volkskrant characterized his Brahms performances as “strong and full of contrast”. The NRC wrote in a five star review that “Leertouwers intimate and powerful interpretation of the Matthew Passion were truly convincing and moving.” Leertouwers Messiah was praised by het Leidsch Dagblad as “unforgettable”.

Johannes Leertouwer studied conducting with David Porcelijn and the legendary Finnish professor Jorma Panula, He has worked as guest conductor with various orchestras, such as the Noord Nederlands Orkest, choir and orchestra of the Netherlands Bach Society. He has also worked with orchestras in Belgium, France, Japan and Mexico. From 1989 to 2006 he was artistic director and conductor of the Netherlands Youth String Orchestra, and conducted various projects at European conservatories in Paris, Antwerp, Leipzig and Amsterdam.

After studying violin with Bouw Lemkes in Amsterdam and Josef Suk in Vienna and Prague, Johannes Leertouwer decided to specialize in historical performance practice. He worked as concertmaster and soloist with a number of international period instrument ensembles and orchestras, such as Anima Eterna (Belgium), and the orchestra and choir of the Nederlandse Bach Vereniging.

Together with his duo partners Menno van Delft (harpsichord) and Julian Reynolds (fortepiano) he has made a series of CD recordings on the Globe label which feature works by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and Schumann. With the Schönbrunn Ensemble, of which he has been a member since its founding in 1987, he performs both in the Netherlands and abroad. He has also made a series of CD’s with this ensemble, the most recent of which contains works of Graf, Reicha and Ries. In 2006, the Mozart year, Johannes Leertouwer was the soloist and conductor in a highly acclaimed CD-recording of the complete works for violin and orchestra by Mozart (Challenge).

Since 1989 he has been a professor of violin at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. He has given masterclasses in many countries both within and outside of Europe.

Johannes Leertouwer has been appointed chief conductor of the orchestra class of the Conservatory of Amsterdam in 2015. In 2018 has started work on research of historical performance practices of the orchestral music of Johannes Brahms as a PhD student at Leiden University. Over the next 4 years this research project will result in recordings of the four Brahms symphonies and concertos.