People | Gijs Leenaars

Gijs Leenaars

© Hans van der Woerd

»the choir’s impressive young principal conductor« (New York Times)

Principal Conductor

As of the 2015/16 season Gijs Leenaars has taken up his post as new Principal Conductor
and Artistic Director of Rundfunkchor Berlin. Ever since he successfully cooperated
with outstanding conductors such as Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann, John
Eliot Garniner and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Ever since he successfully cooperated with
outstanding conductors such as Simon Rattle, Christian Thielemann, John Eliot Garniner
and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. In October 2017 he took over the musical direction for
the genre crossing Concert performance »LUTHER dancing with the gods« with music
by Bach, Nystedt and Reich in Berlins new Pierre Boulez Saal., the choir’s very first
collaboration of Rundfunkchor Berlin with the renowned director Robert Wilson. Moreover
he directed a celebrated a capella programme in Autumn 2016 at the White Light
Festival of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York as well as the choirs
first-ever Tour through South America to Brasil, Chile and Argentina with the Brahmsand
Mozart-Requiem as well as Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.

Born in 1978 in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Leenaars is regarded as one of the most
exciting choral conductors of the younger generation. He studied the piano, choral and
orchestral conducting as well as singing in Nijmegen and Amsterdam. Directly upon
completing his studies he embarked on a collaboration with the Netherlands Radio
Choir (Groot Omroepkoor) in Hilversum. From 2012 to 2015 he was the ensemble’s
Principal Conductor, working with such leading conductors as Mariss Jansons, Nikolaus
Harnoncourt, Bernard Haitink and Valery Gergiev. He is a regular guest conductor of
the Collegium Vocale of Ghent, Cappella Amsterdam and Netherlands Chamber Choir
and has also conducted orchestras including the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Rotterdam
Philharmonic, The Hague Philharmonic and Turin Philharmonic.

One of his special interests is contemporary music: Gijs Leenaars conducted the Dutch
premiere of Wolfgang Rihm’s »Vigilia« and prepared the choral works of György Kurtág
with the Netherlands Radio Choir for a complete recording under Reinbert de Leeuw.
His strikingly imaginative programming brings together the classics of the choral repertoire
with seldom performed works from all periods.

16th January 2018

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