A record legend has faded out
January 12, 2016 by norman lebrecht
We have been informed of the death of Gilbert Steurbaut yesterday morning at the age of 74.
If you didn’t work in classical recording, you’ve probably never heard of him. If you did, he was a legend.
Luk Vaes reports: An independent sound recording entrepeneur from 1967 onwards, Steurbaut started a huge studio in a former factory in Gent, Belgium, 1975. The endeavour quickly became a coveted place to record classical music in great comfort, even for the largest orchestras. Thanks to the lack of walls, there were no impediments. The sound of the studio was of the highest label quality. Countless recordings were made with internationally renowned musicians – George Cziffra, Jörg Demus, José Van Dam, Sylvain Cambreling – for DGG, EMI, Decca, Phillips, Erato and more. These are testimony of his vision in recording classical music.
In Flanders, his professional position was embedded in the classical music scene: from the Queen Elisabeth competition to new music ensembles, from the Royal Band and the Monnaie to organs in small churches and cathedrals, Studio Steurbaut was counted on to achieve the best.
Gilbert will be remembered as a tireless promoter of the art of recording and its highest quality, even in later times of declining recording norms and markets. Gilbert was known for wheeling in his cart with coffee for the musicians, for his pride in being able to sound a natural trumpet while not trained as a musician, for enjoying old wine, but also for chasing birds from trees near the churches where he was recording.
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