Dutch violinist, conductor, and pedagogue Jaap Schröder died yesterday, 1 January 2020, in Amsterdam, aged 94. He was one of the most versatile of the musicians who have emerged from the historical performance movement.

Born in 1925 in Amsterdam, he studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory and at the Sorbonne in France. In the 1960s he was a member of the Dutch early music group Concerto Amsterdam and made recordings with Gustav Leonhardt, Anner Bylsma, Frans Brüggen and others. In the 1970s, as the movement toward historically accurate performances entered its second wave, Schröder became one of the first musicians to look toward extending its principles forward to the Classical and Romantic eras. He founded the Quartetto Esterházy in 1973 to that end, and once again he immersed himself in orchestral as well as chamber literature.He served as the director and concertmaster of the Academy of Ancient Music, and in 1982 he was appointed the visiting music director of the Smithsonian Chamber Players.

He has served as a faculty member at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, Yale School of Music and the Luxembourg Conservatory.

For the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society Schrörder wrote about himself: « During my years of study in Paris, after the war, I divided my time between the École Jacques Thibaud and the Sorbonne, unsure whether I wanted to be a violinist or a musicologist. Back in Holland however, the choice was not difficult: three well-known musicians of an older generation invited me to join them in the Netherlands String Quartet and for the next seventeen years we had a very successful career with almost yearly tours in the US, including two summers at the Aspen Festival. Chamber music (specifically the string quartet) has been the backbone of my career (along with teaching and chamber orchestra performance). I have been the leader of three successive groups. The Quartetto Esterhazy (1972–1982) which was the first quartet to focus on sound and style-related questions of musical interpretation, using appropriate instruments and bows. Next, I joined the American friends with whom I already performed baroque repertoire to start the Smithson String Quartet in Washington, DC (1982-1996), continuing the search for a style-conscious and convincing way of bringing true excitement to the classical repertoire without a heavy romantic overdose. In the same spirit, for more than ten years now, I’ve explored the treasures of Haydn and Schubert with the Skálholt Quartet, based in Iceland. »

About his technique he said: « I am definitely rooted in the French violin tradition and apart from my own teachers (Calvet and Pasquier) my heroes are people like Jacques Thibaud and . . . Stéphane Grappelli! »

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