Gustav Leonhardt

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Gustav Leonhardt (born 30 May 1928, 's-Graveland, North Holland) is a highly renowned Dutch keyboard player, conductor, musicologist, teacher and editor. Leonhardt has been a leader in the movement to perform music on period instruments. He has performed and recorded on the harpsichord, pipe organ, claviorganum (a combination of a harpsichord and an organ), clavichord and fortepiano.

From 1947 to 1950, Leonhardt studied organ and harpsichord with Eduard Müller at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel. He made his debut as a harpsichordist in Vienna in 1950 and studied musicology there. He was professor of harpsichord in the Academy of Music from 1952 to 1955 and as professor of harpsichord in the Amsterdam Conservatory from 1954. He was also a church organist.

Leonhardt made his first recordings of Johann Sebastian Bach's works for harpsichord in the early 1950s, including 1953 recordings of the Goldberg Variations and of the Art of Fugue. The latter embodies the thesis he had published the previous year arguing that the work was intended for the keyboard, a conclusion now widely accepted. The recordings helped establish his reputation as a distinguished harpsichordist and Bach interpreter. In 1954 he led the Leonhardt Baroque Ensemble with the English counter-tenor Alfred Deller in a pioneering recording of two Bach cantatas. The Ensemble included his wife Marie Leonhardt (b. 1928), Eduard Melkus (violins), Alice Harnoncourt-Hoffelner (violin, viola), Nikolaus Harnoncourt...
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