A festival stalwart dies, aged 99

A festival stalwart dies, aged 99


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2014

The Dutch say he did more than anyone to make the Holland Festival what it is today.

Jo Elsendoorn was press director and music programmer of the festival from 1951 to 1977.

He introduced Olivier Messiaen, Luciano Berio (pictured), Luigi Nono, Morton Feldman, Mauricio Kagel and György Ligeti to the Netherlands. He commissioned many new works from, among others, Bruno Maderna, Feldman, John Tavener, Louis Andriessen, Peter Darling, Ton de Leeuw, Otto Ketting and Jan van Vlijmen.

A resistant to Nazi occupation, Jo spent three years in a concentration camp and lost his first wife during the war. Aside from the festival, he wrote successful children’s books.

berio with jo esendoorn

Photo: Maria Austria/MAI.