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Sigiswald Kuijken

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Sigiswald Kuijken has been a pioneer in performing and teaching Baroque violin technique. He and his brothers were all exposed to early instruments as youngsters. Sigiswald and Wieland intuitively taught themselves how to play the viola da gamba. Sigiswald studied violin at the conservatory in Bruges, then in Brussels with Maurice Raskin, earning his degree in 1964. After doing his own research into Baroque performance practice, Kuijken began playing Baroque works on the violin without using a chinrest or shoulder rest and, in fact, not using his chin at all to hold the instrument. He began teaching this method, and others quickly adopted it. Kuijken performed with the Alarius Ensemble between 1964 and 1972, and then at the encouragement of the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi label and Gustav Leonhardt, founded his own orchestra, la Petite Bande, to perform Baroque and Classical works. He has traveled throughout Europe, North America, Australia, China, and Japan with la Petite Bande, and together they have recorded works by Lully, Pergolesi, Mozart, Haydn, Bach, and Geminiani. He also undertook more independent projects with others, such as his brothers Wieland and Barthold, Gustav Leonhardt, Robert Kohnen, Anner Bylsma, Frans Brüggen, and René Jacobs. In 1986, he and his brother Wieland founded the Kuikjen String Quartet with François Fernandez, Marleen Thiers, and sometimes joined by violist Ryo Terakado, specifically to perform Classical period quartets and quintets. That same year, Kuijken conducted the inaugural concert in London of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Kuijken taught Baroque violin at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague (1971-1996) and at the Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium in Brussels (since 1993). He is frequently invited to teach at the Royal College of Music in London, Salamanca University, and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, among other schools. In the late 1990s, he began doing more conducting of modern orchestras in works of Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Brahms. Ongoing projects include the sonatas of Mozart, plus Mozart's and Debussy's chamber music with his brothers, and Bach's cantatas with La Petite Bande between 2006 and 2012.

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