Obituary: harpsichord pioneer Gustav Leonhardt, 83

Posted on: January 19, 2012

In Wednesday’s (1/18) New York Times, Allan Kozinn writes, “Gustav Leonhardt, the Dutch harpsichordist, organist and conductor who was a pioneer in the world of period instrument performance and research into Baroque performance styles, died on Monday at his home in Amsterdam. He was 83. … Both as a keyboard soloist and as the founder and director of the Leonhardt Consort, Mr. Leonhardt made hundreds of recordings that, along with those of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, August Wenzinger and a handful of others, were the defining discography of the historical performance movement in the 1950s and ‘60s. He systematically recorded Bach’s keyboard music, sometimes revisiting works like the ‘Goldberg Variations,’ which he recorded in 1952, 1965 and 1979. With his Leonhardt Consort, founded in 1955, he performed a broad selection of the Baroque chamber, orchestral and dramatic repertory, and helped revive works by Rameau, Lully, André Campra and other Baroque composers. … Even as the period instrument movement grew and younger performers like Christopher Hogwood, Trevor Pinnock, William Christie, Roger Norrington and Nicholas McGegan established ensembles in Europe and the United States, Mr. Leonhardt remained influential.”

Posted January 19, 2012