Barthold Kuijken is among the most prominent Belgian musicians involved in the performance of early music on authentic instruments. He often appears in concert with his brothers Wieland, a cellist and viola da gamba player, and Sigiswald, a violinist, viol player, and conductor. Often, Paul Dombrecht joins them on oboe, with either Gustav Leonhardt or Robert Kohnen on harpsichord. Though Barthold Kuijken's flute and recorder repertory largely falls into the Baroque era, he plays works by Haydn (divertimentos and trios), Mozart (the flute quartets), Schubert (violin/flute sonatas), and other pieces from the Classical era. Kuijken typically appears in chamber music performances, but he has devoted much time throughout his career to playing in early music ensembles, such as the Parnassus Ensemble, the Collegium Aureum, and La Petite Bande. Kuijken has appeared on more than 40 recordings spread across several labels, including Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, Accent, Naïve, and EuroArts.
Barthold Kuijken was born into a musically gifted family on March 8, 1949, in Bilbeek (near Brussels), Belgium. He is the youngest of the three Kuijken brothers and thus benefited from his older siblings' example and teaching. Barthold studied music at the Bruges Conservatory, the Brussels Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Royal Conservatory of the Hague. At the latter school, Frans Vester instructed him on flute and Frans Brüggen on recorder.
Kuijken became interested in the Baroque flute at the Brussels Conservatory and began teaching himself to play the instrument from that time. After his student years he began regularly appearing in concert engagements with his brothers and other musicians. Eventually, the Kuijkens toured Europe, much of Asia, Australia, Israel, and the Americas. Sigiswald Kuijken founded La Petite Bande in 1972, and from around that time Barthold began appearing as a regular member of the ensemble. By the later twentieth century, he was well established on the concert scene, as well as in the recording studio.
In the new century, Barthold's recordings have been appearing with greater frequency. Among his efforts was a 2008 CD on Accent entitled French and Italian Flute Music of the Eighteenth Century. He is joined on this two-disc album by his brother Wieland and Robert Kohnen in trio works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Montéclair, Blavet, and others. Barthold Kuijken has also continued to remain active in the new century in his other profession, that of flute teacher at both the Hague and Brussels Conservatories.
Barthold also serves as artistic director of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and is an honorary charter member of Indyflute.