Bob van Asperen

Voice/Instrument: Harpsichord


Bob van Asperen (8 October 1947 - Amsterdam, Holland) is a harpsichordist, organist, conductor, clavichordist and early music-specialist.

After completing a conventional music course at university, in 1967 he studied under the harpsichord master Gustav Leonhardt. In 1968 he joined the group Quadro Hotteterre, of which he was a member until 1984. He completed his studies in 1972 with distinction after finishing a course in organ at the Amsterdam Conservatory given by Albert de Klerk.

After finishing his studies, Bob van Asperen accepted a teaching post at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He held this post until he was invited to replace the departing Gustav Leonhardt at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where he is now a professor of harpsichord and basso continuo. He teaches at summer academies in Europe and Canada where his masterclasses attract students from all over the world.

A recognized specialist in the realm of performance on period keyboard instruments, his extensive knowledge of keyboard repertoire from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries is reflected in his wide-ranging concert programmes. In addition to concert engagements in Holland, foreign tours have included performances throughout Europe, the United States, Russia and Australia. His repertoire on harpsichord, organ, and clavichord is expansive and ranges from the music of John Bull and Byrd to that of Padre Antonio Soler, and to Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons. From time to time he also conducts baroque or modern orchestras.

Bob van Asperen has also been a member of the jury at several important harpsichord competitions such as those of Amsterdam, Paris, Nantes and Hamburg. His recordings have received much critical acclaim and awards, including the Edison Award, the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, the Cecilia Prize (Belgium) the Timbre d’Argent and the Diapason d’Or.

Bob van Asperen has recorded the entire works of Antonio Soler on 12 CDs. He has also recorded the complete published keyboard output of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. He has recorded many of J.S. Bach's solo keyboard works: The Well Tempered Clavier Books I and II, The Toccatas (BWV 910-916) and the Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), and, with his former professor Gustav Leonhardt, the multiple keyboard concerti of Bach. Among other releases are J.S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerti Volumes I and II with his group Melante Amsterdam which he directs from the harpsichord. Among the record labels that he has recorded for are EMI, Sony, Virgin, Teldec, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, N.M. Classics, and Astreé.

In the field of musicology Bob van Asperen has prepared many editions and reconstructions of works by J.S. Bach (sonatas and concerti), and the Dutch composers Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Sybrandus van Noordt (the first Dutch harpsichord sonata, c1703), and Cornelis Thymenszoon Padbrué, of which he made a reconstruction of the first Dutch oratorio, the Tears of Peter and Paul, 1646 - on a text by the Dutch '"Prince of Poets" Joost van den Vondel. 

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