A Dutch master dies on his bike

A Dutch master dies on his bike


norman lebrecht

July 12, 2019

We are sorry to hear of the death in Amsterdam of the composer René Samson, after suffering a heart attack while riding his bike.

René was 71.

Born into a Jewish family in Surinam, he worked as a chemist for Shell, studying various instruments in his spare time until, at 40, he became a fulltime composer. His works were mostly for chamber ensembles.

The last one listed is a Lieder cycle, The Scent of Pink.

Photo © Jean van Lingen / Working Group Caribbean Arts


  • Dear Norman. René wasn’t knocked off his bike: he suffered cardiac arrest while he was on his bike. This morning we performed several of his chamber music works and his songs on his funeral. It was very impressive.

  • Melisande says:

    What a saddening news about the humane and wonderful musician/composer.
    He will not be forgotten.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    This also happened to the eminent historian Roy Porter and to a well known cardiologist by the grimmest of ironies an expert on sudden death. Both in late 50s.

  • John Borstlap says:

    A terrible story. I met him a couple of times and got a very positive impression of the man.

  • fflambeau says:

    Perhaps a good way to go (he was 71 after all) since we must all go at some time? Yes, sad for his loved ones and admirers but perhaps for the better?

    • Melisande says:

      …. but perhaps for the better?
      You seem to act like a false and unkind prophet who knows best.
      So unsensitive towards life in general, but in this case tasteless.

  • Heather E Halperin says:

    While visiting Amsterdam Rene, took time to have dinner with me and a friend on 6/19. This was a lovely time with thoughtful caring conversation. I and USA friends who know Rene are shocked and truly saddened to hear of Rene’s untimely death. (btw 71 not so old) We all will keep him in our thoughts and memories.