Early death of early music master

We’ve been notified of the death, aged 55, of Dirk Snellings, artistic director of Belgium’s award-winning Capilla Flamenca, and a frequent bass-singer soloist with La Petite Bande and other ensembles.

A viola da gamba virtuoso, Dirk also played recorder, crumhorn, pommer, viol and harpsichord.

He was an outstanding authority on the Flemish polyphonists and a teacher of voice and early music history at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven. 

He had been suffering from a lingering disease.

dirk snellings1

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  • Capilla Flamenca under Dirk Snellings was, for my money, the best Renaissance vocal ensemble on the planet.

    The singers’ subtlety and sensitivity to each others’ lines was worthy of the best string quartets. (And the music Capilla Flamenca sang was often more complicated than most string quartet repertory.)

    They weren’t as well-known beyond the Low Countries as they should have been, but in Belgium and the Netherlands you had to buy tickets for their concerts early, because they always sold out.

    I’ll never forget a late evening candlelight concert they did in Antwerp Cathedral where we were encouraged to walk around and look at the great art there as the singers performed. It was one of the highlights of my musical life.

    God rest you, Dirk.

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