Jacques van Oortmerssen studied organ and piano at the conservatory of Music, Rotterdam under André Verwoerd and Elly Salomé respectively. He continued his organ studies with Marie-Claire Alain in Paris and was awarded the ’Prix d’Excellence’ in 1976. Since 1979 Jacques van Oortmerssen has taught organ at the Sweelinck Conservatory, Amsterdam. In 1982 he succeeded Gustav Leonhardt as Organiste-Titulaire of the Waalse Kerk in Amsterdam. Jacques van Oortmerssen is associated with the University of Göteborg, Sweden, as a visiting organ teacher. In addition, Jacques van Oortmerssen is worldwide in demand as a concert recitalist, and is becoming increasingly active as a conductor.
In choosing registrations for his Bach recordings, Jacques van Oortmerssen is following exactly Bach’s (infrequent) indications for the use of one or more manual(s) and forte/piano dynamics. Moreover, he is basing his interpretations on that which is known about registrational practices in Bach’s time and region; in this respect the surviving prescriptions of Georg Friedrich Kauffmann (1733-6) and Jacob Adlung (1758) are particularly useful. For the plena of the large ’free’ works, he is following conventions that are rooted in older traditions.