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WILLEM VAN OTTERLOO

Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video

Willem van Otterloo

Period

27-12-1907 - 27-07-1978

Genre

classical, dirigent

Willem van Otterloo

Willem van Otterloo begins his conducting career with the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, but he achieves his greatest success with The Hague Philharmonic, which under his baton enters a golden period. Van Otterloo and the orchestra gain international fame, in part because of the many LPs they made for the Philips ...
Full biography

Instruments

dirigent

Mentioned in the biography of

1919   Sem Dresden
1940   Willem Frederik Bon
1943   Jurriaan Andriessen
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Biography Willem van Otterloo

Willem van Otterloo begins his conducting career with the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, but he achieves his greatest success with The Hague Philharmonic, which under his baton enters a golden period. Van Otterloo and the orchestra gain international fame, in part because of the many LPs they made for the Philips label. Van Otterloo’s compositions date from the first half of his life. He writes mostly orchestral pieces in a moderately modern idiom from the beginning of the 1930s. “Typical for Van Otterloo is that his first themes are sharply drawn and forceful in their expression, while the second themes are hesitant, wavering and less expressive.” (Henk Badings: De Hedendaagsche Nederlandsche Muziek [Contemporary Dutch Music], 1936)

Played in

Residentie Orkest  

1928 - 1932

Willem van Otterloo (born December 27, 1907, in Winterswijk) stops studying medicine after two years to dedicate himself to music. He studies the cello and composition at the Amsterdam Conservatory. His teachers are Max Orobio de Castro, Sem Dresden and Hendrik Andriessen.

Hendrik Andriessen Sem Dresden

1932

Upon completing his studies Van Otterloo finds work as a cellist with the Utrecht City Orchestra and gains recognition as a composer: the Amsterdam Concertgebouw awards a prize to his 'Suite No. 3' for orchestra. Because the conductor Willem Mengelberg is ill, Van Otterloo gets the opportunity to rehearse and conduct the work himself.

1933 - 1937

Willem van Otterloo is named assistant conductor of the Utrecht City Orchestra and four years later becomes its principal conductor.

1949

Van Otterloo is named chief conductor of The Hague Philharmonic. With The Hague Philharmonic, he reaches new heights. “Van Otterloo enjoyed great respect from the musicians who worked under him because of his consummate craftsmanship, his faultless memory (he conducted most scores by heart), his sharp hearing, his incessant quest for technical perfection, and the unshakeable certainty through which he was able to realize his intentions. His interpretations always stand out for the perfect balance of the sounds and their lucid transparency. He loved taut, energetic tempos and had a clear preference for brilliantly scored works. Among his favourite composers were Berlioz ('Symphonie Fantastique'), Richard Strauss ('Ein Heldenleben') and Ravel ('Daphnis et Chloé'); but the symphonies of Haydn also excellently suited his musical temperament.” (Eduard Reeser: Biographisch Woordenboek van Nederland [Biographical Dictionary of the Netherlands] 1985)

Residentie Orkest

1950 - 1960

In the 1950s, Willem van Otterloo and The Hague Philharmonic record various LPs for the Philips label. They also tour throughout the world. The Concertgebouw Orchestra chooses the 'Symphonietta for 16 wind instruments' (1943) for its American tour in 1954. As a guest conductor, he leads such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of La Scala in Milan, the symphony orchestras of Madrid and Lisbon, England’s Hallé Orchestra, the Danish national radio orchestra, the Orchestre Lamoureux and Orchestre Pasdeloup in Paris, the Argentine national radio orchestra in Buenos Aires and the South African radio orchestra. Van Otterloo also teaches conducting in the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and is involved in the conducting course of the Netherlands Radio Union/Netherlands Broadcasting Foundation.

1962

Willem van Otterloo – with Jean Fournet – is named chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

Radio Filharmonisch Orkest

1972

After retiring, Willem van Otterloo settles in Australia and conducts the symphony orchestras of Sydney and Melbourne. In his later years, he no longer composes, but devotes his free time to photography, and becomes an accomplished photographer.

1974 - 1977

From Australia, Van Otterloo serves as general music director of the Düsseldorf Symphony.

1978

Willem van Otterloo is killed in a traffic accident in Melbourne on July 27. An enthusiast of driving Porsches, he died, ironically, as a passenger in a Volkswagen Beetle.

2009

On December 10, the biography 'Willem van Otterloo (1907-1978), een Dirigentenloopbaan' [Willem van Otterloo (1907-1978), a Conducting Career], written by Niek Nelissen (publ. Van Gruting) is presented at the Netherlands Music Institute in The Hague.

Discography Willem van Otterloo

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Willem van Otterloo

Audio/Video Willem van Otterloo

Video Willem van Otterloo

Residentieorkest o.l.v. W...
Residentieorkest o.l.v. Willem van Otterloo (1951)
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Residentieorkest o.l.v. Willem van Otterloo (1951)

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