The Dutch conductor and violinist, Jan Willem de Vriend, studied the violin with Davina van Wely at the conservatories of Amsterdam and The Hague. During this time there, he already conducted several opera productions, such as Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss and Silbersee by Kurt Weill.
After finishing his studies Jan Willem de Vriend performed all over the world in various chamber music combinations. In 1982 he established the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, an ensemble that focuses on the performance of 17th and 18th-century music. As a violinist and artistic director he has directed many remarkable concerts and opera productions in the Netherlands, and also in a number of countries across Europe, in North and South America and in Japan. With the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, he features on numerous CDs and in many recordings for radio and television, a number of which were highly acclaimed in Dutch reviews. De Vriend was guest concertmaster with Camerata Bern and Ensemble Oriol Berlin, among others.
In addition to his activities as artistic leader of the Combattimento Consort Amsterdam, Jan Willem de Vriend is much in demand as a conductor, having been invited by numerous ensembles and orchestras in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. He regularly acts as the guest conductor of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Brabant Orchestra, Het Gelders Orkest, Noord Nederlands Orchestra and the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. He has made recordings for radio, television and CD's with the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra and the Brabant Orchestra. Abroad, he has conducted the RIAS Jugend Orchester and the Deutsche Kammer Philharmonie, among others.
Opera has always played an important part in Jan Willem de Vriendís activities. De Vriend's arrangements of some operas by Monteverdi have been performed under his direction in the Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA. He directed various co-productions (George Frideric Handelís Rodelinda and Alcina, Monteverdiís Líincoronnazione di Poppea and LíOrfeo, Purcellís King Arthur and Dido and Aeneas) with the Onafhankelijk Toneel theatre company, Huis aan de Amstel and the Nationale Reisopera. Moreover, he conducted W.A. Mozartís Die Zauberflöte with Opéra du Rhin in Strassbourg, Monteverdiís LíOrfeo at the Luzern Opera and the opera Der Stein der Weisen as directed by Eva Buchmann, and he made an extensive tour of the Netherlands with Die Fledermaus (Strauss).
During the 2003-2004 season, Jan Willem de Vriend was invited by the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven Academy, Nederlands Kamerorkest, Het Gelders Orkest, Brabant Orchestra, Noord Nederlands Orchestra, Limburg Symphony Orchestra, and he conducted Jan van Vlijmenís version of Die Kunst der Fuge played by members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, recorded on CD. For the 2004-2005 season, he has accepted invitations to conduct the Swedish ensemble Musica Vitae, Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra, Noord Nederlands Orchestra and Brabant Orchestra. Since 2006 he is Chief Conductor of Netherlands Symphony Orchestra.
Jan Willem de Vriend has given master-classes in the USA and Europe and is associated with several violin competitions as a member of the jury.