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Biography

Johannes Leertouwer, violinist and conductor.

Johannes Leertouwer is chief conductor and artistic director of the recently formed 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 in a series of concerts and special projects in the coming years. 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 therefore clearly carries the signature of its chief conductor.

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 also 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, 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 gives masterclasses and guest teaches in many countries both within and outside of Europe. As a conductor he is able to draw not only on his years of experience with the ensembles and orchestras that are leading the way in historical performance practice, but also on his experience in Romantic and twentieth-century orchestral practice. Already during his violin studies he worked with world famous conductors such as Haitink, Abbado, Bernstein and Harnoncourt.

Johannes Leertouwer is a conductor with a broad repertoire and an exceptionally acute consciousness of style. From his specialization, the Viennese Classics, he has built up his repertoire without limiting himself to any particular style period. Among the works he has conducted are Sibelius’ Symphony No.5, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion; he has also conducted world premieres of works by Patricio Wang, Maurice Horsthuis, Frank Agsteribbe and others.