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Sigiswald Kuijken

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Born: February 16, 1944 - Dilbbek, near Brussels, Belgium

The Belgian violinist, violist, and conductor Sigiswald Kuijken studied music at the Bruges and Brussels Conservatories, where he received a premier prix for the violin in 1964. He was seven when he first came into contact with the Renaissance instruments. Like his brother Wieland, he is self-taught on the viola da gamba. This early, and for the most part, intuitive contact with early music strongly influenced his playing of the Baroque violin. In 1969 he began to re-establish the old technique of violin playing, without using a chin or a shoulder rest and without holding the instrument with the chin at all.

This technique has been adopted by many other players since then and was taught by Sigiswald Kuijken at The Hague Conservatory between 1971 and 1996. He continues to teach it at the Brussels Conservatory, where he has been professor since 1993. Between 1964 to 1972 he was a member of the Alarius Ensemble of Brussels, with whom he explored 17th and 18th-century music, and performance practice. With them and his brothers Wieland and Barthold, as well as with Robert Kohnen, Gustav Leonhardt and others, he has undertaken regular tours of Europe, the USA, Australia and Japan. He has also given countless solo recitals and has recorded most of Bach’s chamber works and pieces for solo violin as well as music by Corelli, Vivaldi and Muffat.

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