Death of a formative Dutch conductor, 87

Death of a formative Dutch conductor, 87


norman lebrecht

August 23, 2019

Starting out as principal oboe of Netherlands opera at age 19, Leo Driehuys was never one to let grass grow beneath his feet. He founded the celebrated Danzi Quintet and started conducting on the radio.

In 1977 he migrated to Charlotte, North Carolina, taking on a band of part-timers and transforming them into a full, professional symphony orchestra. He was chief conductor until his retirement in 1993. Leo Driehuys died last week at his Virginia home, aged 87.


More here.


  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    One of the finest people, musician and conductor. He was respected and loved. Cherished memories of our collaboration in West Virginia when he led the Mill Brook Orchestra, for those who may remember his superlative work with this hidden jewel orchestra.

    • Edgar Self says:

      Good to see Jeffrey Biegel’s posts here. I’ve admired his piano performances and lecture-recitals.

      Leo Driehuys had a long life and career. I knew of the Danzi Wind Quintet but not his work with the Charlotte NC orchestra. It reminded me of other oboist-conductors such as Mitch Miller, Rudolf Kempe, and Heinz Holliger, another Dutchman.

      Holland produced one of world’s best orchestras and a number of conductors: Alphons Diepenbrock, Hans Kindler, Willem Mengelberg, Eduard van Beinum, Bernard Haitink, Willem van Otterloo, Paul van Kempen, Edo de Waart, and Jaap van Zweden off the top of the head. I won’t even mention Andre Rieu!

  • Eddgar Self says:

    Many thanks, Jeffrey Biegel, for David Porcelijn, a new name to me and evidently another notable Dutch conductor. There are likely many more. I’ve just looked him up.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Thanks, Peter Phillips, for names of Kees Bakels and the late Hans Vonk as other Dutch conductors. I should have remembered Vonk from his time in St. Louis. Now I must look up Bakels.

  • Edgar SelfEdgar Self says:

    Other Dutch conductors are Willem van Hoogstraten, who conducted in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, before WWII; and Jan Hupperts, whose death Mr. Lebrecht reported on July 29.

    Willem van Hoogstraten had the same name as an old master Dutch painter, perhaps an ancester.