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(Image courtesy: Amsterdam University of the Arts )

Dutch Pianist Rudolf Jansen has Died, Aged 84

Jansen taught at Amsterdam’s Sweelinck Conservatoire and was the accompanist for many acclaimed singers


Born in 1940, Rudolf Jansen studied piano, organ, and harpsichord at the Amsterdam Conservatoire. Among his teachers included Gustav Leonhardt, Nelly Wagenaar, Felix de Nobel, and his father Simon C. Jansen. 

According to NPO Klassiek, Jansen originally pursued a solo piano career, but as he performed with more singers, his work gradually began to reflect his collaborations with acclaimed artists. 

“[My career] just developed like that,” Jansen said on NPO. “Song art is not something you immediately appreciate from an early age. You must first have some life experience before poetry, and with it the song, comes alive before you.”

His specialization in lieder accompaniment led him to travel internationally with renowned singers including Elly Ameling, Olaf Bär, Barbara Bonney, Brigitte Fassbänder, Robert Holl, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Christianne Stotijn, Peter Schreier, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, with whom he recorded a CD that won the German Prize in 1992. 

“Our views immediately fit together seamlessly,” said Ameling on performing with Jansen. ”I can’t remember that Rudolf and I ever really discussed something, or agreed, along the way we’re going to do it … it was right while doing it. And then there is a wonderful giving and taking. Piano leads, singer leads, in turn, complementary to each other, dancing together through the music.”

Jansen also gave regular masterclasses and taught at the Sweelinck Conservatoire and at the Musikhochschule of Nuremberg and Augsburg. 

He gave his final public performance in 2017 at an evening concert dedicated to him at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Among his accolades included the Knight’s Order in the Order of the Dutch Lion and Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau.

“He will be remembered for his unparalleled piano technique, his profound interpretations, and his boundless dedication to the art of song accompaniment,” the Amsterdam University of the Arts posted in a tribute

Our condolences to Mr. Jansen’s family, friends, students, and colleagues.

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