Musical chairs: Koop takes JEG’s seat in big Bach game

Musical chairs: Koop takes JEG’s seat in big Bach game


norman lebrecht

May 14, 2019

From the Bach Archiv, Leipzig:

Ton Koopman is the new President of the Leipzig Bach Archive Foundation. In accepting this position, the Dutch harpsichordist, organist, composer and musicologist is taking on the role of an internationally respected ambassador for Bach research in Leipzig.

Koopman succeeds John Eliot Gardiner, who exercised the function of President of the Foundation from 2014 to 2018.

At a meeting of the Foundation Council chaired by the Lord Mayor of the City of Leipzig Burkhard Jung, Ton Koopman was chosen to be the new President of the Leipzig Bach Archive Foundation on 13 May 2019. In this function, the Dutch Bach specialist will become part of the three-strong Foundation management board with immediate effect, the other members being the Leipzig Bach Archive Director, Bach scholar Prof. Dr. Peter Wollny, and its CEO, Franziska Grimm.



  • Brian says:

    Koop? JEG? Please…

    Presumably you wouldn’t want people to refer to you as Norm Leb either… Or would you?

    On the other hand, “Musical Chairs” was very witty!

  • I am looking forward to meeting Ton at the Leipzig Bachfest in June. We welcome a President who will not only be a first class Ambassador for the very admirable Leipzig Bach Archiv, but also in consequence of his Presidency, will support the many devoted Bach organisations around the globe who can share the fruits of Bach scholarship and discovery with the wider world through live and recorded performances.

  • Max says:

    Your choice of picture speaks of the little respect you seem to have for this magnificent artist.
    Pretty poor of you imho.

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I’m not a fan of HIP nonsense, but Ton Koopman is the real deal and an outstanding musician. It’s too bady he is no longer returning to conduct the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His concerts were uniformly excellent, real music-making.

    • jaypee says:

      What’s “HIP nonsense”?

      • John Borstlap says:

        Historically Informed Performance. That is, based upon historical research in how music in former periods was (probably) performed and written with that kind of performance in mind. And thus, highly contested since we don’t know how Beethoven’s symphonies sounded and what he thought about how they should sound. But we do now know how older music was related to the surrounding culture, and there are treatises, which offer many clues.

  • Abraham Christoph Plaz says:

    Oh poor Leipzig. Once again, since they cannot get the best, they will have to settle for average. 😉

    • Abraham Christoph Plaz says:

      I assume (or at least hope) that the down votes to my original post are from people who don’t know the (fairly famous) story of Bach’s appointment as Kantor in Leipzig and assumed that I was implying some criticism of maestro Koopman. The post was originally offered to Telemann who turned it down. The Leipzigers’ next choice was Johann Graupner who accepted but had to withdraw when his current employer wouldn’t release him from his contract. This led to councillor Abraham Christoph Plaz’s famous observation about Bach, quoted above.

  • CK Lau says:

    Bravo! Maestro!

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Someone had told that Ton Koopman had passed away and I’m very happy to hear that that’s not the case. If I owned a classical recording label, I’d follow him around everywhere.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Right on, Barry….
    I like Ton’s tones too!

  • John Borstlap says:

    I don’t know whether this man is a good choice for an institution like the Bach Archive Foundation. Koopman is an OK player as long as the music (Bach’s) is regular and firmly structured, and straigthforward. As soon as some musical rhetoric is demanded, he is at a loss, no feeling for dramatic timing, or expressive gestures. He is one of those rationalistic HIP musicians who are under the impression that baroque music is, before anything else, fast, and that musicians at the time never ever rounded-off cadences or brought some breathing or phrasing in their performances – after all, such things were not, could not be, notated. So, he simply chases through the score and at times is just very unmusical – the worst sin for a musician.

    This is a characteristic recording – a shameful rendering of a master piece, torn to shreds – I wonder whether the Foundation would have appointed Koopman if they had heard this: