Obituary: Cellist Anner Bylsma, 85

Posted on: August 5, 2019

“Anner Bylsma, who has died aged 85, was a Dutch cellist and a leading figure in the world of historically informed performance,” reads an unsigned Tuesday (7/30) obituary in the Daily Telegraph (U.K.). “As a pioneer of the ‘Dutch baroque school’ he worked extensively with the conductor and recorder player Frans Brüggen and the harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt…. His 1979 recording … of the six suites for unaccompanied cello by JS Bach was the first of its kind on a period instrument…. His performances of classical music could be equally insightful…. Bylsma was born in The Hague on February 17 1934, the son of professional musicians… At 16 he entered the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague. [In 1959] he took first prize in the Pablo Casals competition in Mexico; there he met Casals, Mstislav Rostropovich and André Navarra … From 1962 to 1968 he also played modern-style cello with the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Bernard Haitink…. A softly spoken man with a gentle and mischievous sense of humor, Bylsma was critical of musicians who allowed themselves to be promoted as the ‘greatest’ exponent of their instrument…. Bylsma, who retired … in 2006 … is survived by his third wife, the violinist Vera Beths, and their daughter, and by a son from his second marriage.”

Posted August 5, 2019