The conductor Frans Brüggen has died at the age of 79.


Born in Amsterdam in 1934, Brüggen was a celebrated early music conductor, flautist and recorder player. In 1981, he founded the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, which now has over sixty members and with which he made many recordings.

'Frans Brüggen’s approach to authenticity is by now itself a part of history,' wrote Nicholas Williams in a BBC Music Magazine review of Brüggen's recording of Mozart's Symphonies Nos 40 & 41 with the orchestra.

As well as conducting his period-instrument orchestra, Brüggen was joint principal guest conductor of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment from 1992 onwards and was director of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra from 1991 to 1994. He also conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

He studied musicology at the University of Amsterdam and at the age of 21 was appointed Professor at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He was one of the youngest musical scholars at the time and went on to hold positions at Harvard University (Erasmus Professor) and Berkeley University (Regent’s Professor).

The conductor is survived by his wife, the art historian Machtelt Israëls, and his two daughters, Zephyr and Eos.


Eliot McGuire