Dutch Pianist, conductor and composer Reinbert de Leeuw passed away on Friday at the age of 81. He was a prominent advocate of new music for more than 50 years, in the Netherlands and abroad. For many years he was also the regular conductor of the Schönberg Ensemble, which he had founded himself in 1974 with students of the Royal Conservatoire.

As a boy of ten, De Leeuw was already composing pieces of music. Despite his passion for composing, he only composed very few works himself. He chose to focus on the performance of music. He also taught at the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague.

In 1992, he was guest artistic director of the Aldeburgh Festival and from 1994–1998 artistic director of Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music. De Leeuw was artistic advisor for contemporary music with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and from 2001 to 2010, he served as artistic leader at the Nederlandse Orkest- en Ensemble-Academie (NJO; Dutch Orchestra and Ensemble Academy).

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