Five Things Friday – Reinbert de Leeuw

Conductor, composer, pianist, author . . . Dutch musician Reinbert de Leeuw wears many hats. Throughout his career, de Leeuw has been an ardent champion of new music, co-founding the Schoenberg Ensemble in 1974 (he’s been conductor and music director since its inception). If you aren’t familiar with Reinbert de Leeuw, here’s five things to help you get acquainted:

  • Mr. de Leeuw is an accomplished pianist – he will be performing his own Im wunderschönen Monat Mai on Friday Night with Barbara Sukowa. His interpretations of Erik Satie, in particular, have brought him widespread acclaim. Here’s a video of him playing Satie’s Le Fils des Étoiles No. 2. 
  • In addition to his work with the Schoenberg Ensemble, Mr. de Leeuw has also served as music director of the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music (1994-1998) and artistic advisor for contemporary music at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (2000-2004). He has also been involved in several opera productions, including works by Stravinsky, Andriessen, Ligeti, Vivier, and Rob Zuiddam.
  • In 2011, Mr. de Leeuw accomplished a cherished dream – to lead a complete performance of Schoenberg’s massive Gurre-Lieder. For his performance, de Leeuw brought together 356 musicians, including students of the Royal Conservatoir and Codarts Rotterdam. Here’s a brief video taken from one of the rehearsals.
  • If that isn’t enough, Mr. de Leeuw is the author of two books (one on Charles Ives and a collection of essays), and helped to create an internationally acclaimed eight-part documentary on twentieth-century composers.
  • And one more…In 2010, Mr. de Leeuw was a part of the “Cage Against The Machine” campaign, which was a worldwide push to get John Cage’s 4’33” as the Christmas No. 1. Here is his performance for Dutch television (begins at 6:30). If anyone speaks Dutch, we’d love to know what he says!

We’re excited that Reinbert de Leeuw will be joining us in June. From what we’ve seen so far, he’s an incredibly talented musician and thinker – we can’t wait to meet him! He’ll be in Ojai June 7-10 – click here for tickets and further information.