Jos van Immerseel

Jos van Immerseel was born in Antwerp in 1945. He studied piano (Eugène Traey), organ (Flor Peeters), singing (Lucie Frateur) and direction (Daniel Sternefeld) as well as organology, rhetoric and historical fortepiano (autodidact). His passion for historical keyboard instruments burgeoned after coming into contact with two magnificent instruments at the Antwerp Museum Vleeshuis (Joannes Dulcken – 1747; Conrad Graf – 1826), and with exceptional musicians such as René Jacobs, the Kuijken brothers, Jaap Schröder, Anner Bijlsma, Paul Van Nevel, Guy de Mey and Paul Dombrecht. Reinforced by his fascination for organ and vocal music, these interests naturally guided van Immerseel to the field of early music. Shortly thereafter, he founded his own ensemble (Collegium Musicum, 1964-1968) that experimented with music from the renaissance and the baroque era on period instruments. Still on the same track, Jos van Immerseel embarked upon harpsichord studies with Kenneth Gilbert and carried off the palm at the first edition of the Paris Harpsichord Competition (1973) after a unanimous decision of both the jury and the audience. Van Immerseel turned out to be the only competitor rigorously choosing to play the historical harpsichord, thereby starting a new chapter of the French harpsichord school’s history.

Testifying to van Immerseel’s impressive career, is a back catalogue comprising more than 100 recordings – exclusively and solely on or with period instruments – with labels as Accent, Channel Classics, Sony and – as from 2015 – Outhere Music (Alpha). Recent releases include a live-recording of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and symphonic masterpieces by Dvo?ák and Janá?ek. At the occasion of van Immerseel’s special birthday celebration in 2015, two CD boxes have been compiled as well: the Schubertiade, consisting of vocal/instrumental chamber music, and an orchestral anthology of previously released French repertoire (Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc). Among the many awards won by van Immerseel and his orchestra are the Diaposon d’Or, Le Choc du Monde de la Musique and FFFF de Télérama; on a personal level, he was granted the price of the Musikfest Bremen for his outstanding career.