Ton Koopman was born in Zwolle in 1944. After a classical education he studied organ, harpsichord and musicology in Amsterdam and was awarded the Prix d’Excellence for both instruments. From the beginning of his musical studies he was fascinated by authentic instruments and a performance style based on sound scholarship and in 1969, at the age of 25, he created his first Baroque orchestra. In 1979 he founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra followed by the Amsterdam Baroque Choir in 1992.
As an organist, Koopman has for decades played on the most important historical instruments in Europe, and as harpsichordist and conductor of the ABO&C, he makes guest appearances at virtually all the world’s leading concert halls and music festivals. In addition, Koopman is in high demand as a guest conductor and has collaborated with many leading orchestras in Europe, the United States and Japan. Koopman’s wide-ranging musical activities as a soloist, accompanist, continuo player and conductor have been documented through the years on various record labels such as Erato, Teldec, Sony, Philips and DGG. In 2003, he founded his own label, Antoine Marchand, distributed by Challenge Classics.
Between 1994 and 2004 Ton Koopman has been engaged in a unique project, conducting and recording all the eXIVsting cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, a massive undertaking for which he has been awarded the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis “Echo Klassik”, the BBC Award 2008, the Prix Hector Berlioz, has been nominated for the Grammy Award (USA) and the Gramophone Award (UK). In 2000 Ton Koopman has received an Honorary Degree from the Utrecht University for his academic work on the Bach Cantatas and Passions and has been awarded both the prestigious Silver Phonograph Prize and the VSCD Classical Music Award. In 2006 he has received the « Bach-Medaille » from the City of Leipzig.
Koopman is currently working on his next major project – performing and recording the complete surviving works of Dieterich Buxtehude, who served as an important model for the young Johann Sebastian Bach. He also chairs the International D. Buxtehude Society.
Ton Koopman publishes regularly and for a number of years he has been engaged in editing the complete Handel Organ Concertos for Breitkopf & Härtel. Recently he has published Handel’s Messiah and Buxtehude‘s Das Jüngste Gericht for Carus Verlag. Ton Koopman leads the class of harpsichord at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, is Professor at the University of Leiden and is a Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London. Ton Koopman is artistic director of the French Festival “Itinéraire Baroque”.
Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir is a group of renowned baroque specialists, who meet up several times a year to perform new concert programs. The orchestra was founded by Ton Koopman in 1979, the choir followed in 1992. Both groups were combined to become the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir (ABO&C). Koopman’s thorough knowledge of especially the baroque repertoire, plus his insight and boundless energy and enthusiasm, are sure to guarantee concert performances of the highest quality. The repertoire of the ABO&C includes instrumental and vocal-instrumental works composed between 1600 and 1800. “I draw the line at Mozart’s death in 1791”, Ton Koopman said once.
The ABO&C made its début in 1992 during the Holland Festival of Early Music in Utrecht, performing the world première of both the Requiem (for 15 voices) and Vespers (for 32 voices) by the 17th century composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz (von) Biber. The recording won the Cannes Classical Award for best performance of 17th/18th century choral music. Because of its rare combination of textural clarity and interpretative fleXIVbility, the choir is considered to be amongst the most outstanding choirs of today.
In 1994 Ton Koopman and his ABO&C embarked upon the most ambitious recording project of the past decade: the integral recording of all of Bach’s secular and sacred cantatas, performed on the basis of the latest international musicological research. For the first 4 volumes of the Bach cantata series, which now comprises 22 volumes, Ton Koopman and the ABO&C received the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis Echo Klassik 1997. Once the first twelve parts of the Bach cantata series had been launched, Ton Koopman founded his own record label: “Antoine Marchand” (distributed by Challenge Classics). This label produced the remainder this prestigious CD Series.
For 15 years, the ABO&C orchestra worked closely with the French label Erato, for which it made beautiful recordings of many baroque and classical compositions. Over the years, the orchestra has received many prizes and awards, such as The Gramophone Award, Diapason d’Or, 10-Repertoir, Stern des Monats-Fono Forum, the Prix Hector Berlioz and two Edisons (The Netherlands).
The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir is a regular guest at large concert halls in Europe, the United States and Japan.