Barthold Kuijken

Historical Performance Practice with modern instruments and traverso


Barthold Kuijken, born 1949, specializes in historical flutes and recorder. He studied modern flute at the Bruges Conservatory, the Royal Conservatories of Brussels and The Hague, but began studying the baroque flute as well when he came across a splendid instrument. 

It became his best teacher. Research on authentic instruments in museums and private collections, frequent collaboration with various flute and recorder makers, and assiduous study of 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century sources got him interested in specializing in the performance of early music on original instruments, although he still played the Boehm flute in the Brussels-based avant-guard ensemble "Musiques Nouvelles".

For many years he was baroque flutist in the orchestra "Collegium Aureum" and, later, in “La petite Bande". He plays concerts with harpsichord and fortepiano, or in chamber music ensembles all over the world and has extended his repertory to include early 19th-century music and occasionally music up to the time of Debussy. He has recorded extensively for various labels. He appears often as a guest conductor and is a conductor and artistic director of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. His scholarly work includes articles in various journals, an annotated Urtext edition of J.S. Bach's flute compositions (Breitkopf & Härtel) and the Critical Edition of the six C.P.E. Bach flute concertos (Packard Humanities Institute).

In 2014 he retired from the Royal Conservatories of The Hague and Brussels where he taught the baroque flute since 1976, resp. 1977, He is often invited to serve as a guest professor or on a jury in international competitions. In 2007 he obtained a PhD in the Arts at Brussels University (VUB) and in 2013 he published The Notation Is Not the Music – Reflections on Early Music Practice and Performance (Indiana University Press). The National flute Association presented him the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.