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Johan van der Meer (Conductor)

Born: November 26, 1913 - Noordhorn, the Netherlands
Died: April 24, 2011 - Achim, Lower Saxony, Germany

Johan van der Meer was a Dutch choral conductor and pioneer in the field of historically informed performance. In 1945, he founded the semi-professional Koor Groningse Bachvereniging and conducted the group until 1984. During the first 25 years they performed music from Renaissance to contemporary, but concentrated on the Baroque era in the early 1970s. Van der Meer introduced Nikolaus Harnoncourt in the Netherlands in 1970. The regular orchestra, the Noordelijk Filharmonisch Orkest, was not available for a performance of J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243), instead van der Meer could work with Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Concentus Musicus Wien.

Johan van der Meer concentrated on period instruments, all male voices for the soloists, musical rhetoric and dramatic declamation. In 1973 he conducted the Koor Groningse Bachvereniging in the first historically informed performance in the Netherlands of J.S. Bach's St Matthew Passion (BWV 244). The Evangelist was Marius van Altena, the vox Christi was Max van Egmond, the other soloists were three boys of the Tölzer Knabenchor, René Jacobs, Harry Geraerts, Michiel ten Houte de Lange, Frits van Erven Dorens and Harry van der Kamp. Ton Koopman and Bob van Asperen played the organs. The performance was recorded live. The concert was successful and established van der Meer's position in Early Music. In 1974, he conducted J.S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) with Musica Antiqua Amsterdam, the first Baroque orchestra of Ton Koopman. In 1975, he conducted and recorded J.S. Bach's Mass in B minor (BWV 232) at the Holland Festival, the orchestra was La Petite Bande with concert master Sigiswald Kuijken). In 1979 he conducted J.S. Bach's St John Passion (BWV 245) in Groningen.

Johan van der Meer also recorded vocal works by composers such as Heinrich Schütz, Josquin Desprez, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and George Frideric Handel.

Source: English Wikipedia Website (September 2012)
Contributed by
Dr. Walter Hilbrands - Dean of studies, German School of Theology, Gießen, Germany (November 2011)

Johan van der Meer: Short Biography | Koor Groningse Bachvereniging | Recordings of Bocal Works

Links to other Sites

Johann van der Meer - dirigent (Wikipedia) [German]
Johan van der Meer - conductor (Wikipedia) [English]

In memoriam Johan van der Meer 6 (Hortus Musicus) [Dutch]

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
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