22/04 | Ben van Oosten


Born in The Hague (Netherlands) in 1955, Ben van Oosten gave his first organ recital in 1970 at the age of 15. He was accepted at the prestigious Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and studied the organ with Albert de Klerk and piano with Berthe Davelaar. He graduated cum laude in 1979 with a diploma in organ solo. He completed advanced studies in Paris, France, with organist/composer André Isoir and with organ virtuoso Daniel Roth. While his Paris student years may have bolstered his interest in the French Romantic organ school, Ben van Oosten had visited the French capital as early as 1971 and confessed to being immediately captivated by the music of Vierne. Since 1970 his numerous highly successful concert tours have taken him to the foremost international organ venues, where he has emerged as one of the most remarkable organ virtuosos of our time. In any event, throughout the 1980's and 1990's he toured Europe and the USA, developing a large following and regularly garnering rave reviews. Whether by geographical influence or artistic choice, Ben van Oosten gravitated toward the French Romantic Organ school of the 19th century that had its origins in the new symphonic organs of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. His recordings of the eight organ sonatas of Alexandre Guilmant and the complete organ works of César Franck, Camille Saint-Saëns, Louis Vierne, Charles-Marie Widor and Marcel Dupré have been awarded many international prizes (including the Echo Klassik, Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Choc du Monde de la Musique and Diapason d’Or), as well as the organworks of Lemmens and Lefébure-Wély and the 2 cd recordings “Festival of English Organ Music” performed on the organ in Salisbury Cathedral (UK). He is also author of the comprehensive Widor biography, Charles-Marie Widor – Vater der Orgelsymphonie (Charles-Marie Widor – Father of The Organ Symphony). Because of his services to French organ culture Ben van Oosten was honoured on three occasions by the Société Académique Arts, Sciences, Lettres in Paris. The French government created him Chevalier (1998) and Officier (2011) dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2010 he was created Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion by H.M. the Queen of The Netherlands. Ben van Oosten is Titular Organist of the Grote Kerk in The Hague and Artistic Director of the international organ festival that takes place annually in this church.
More in this category: 29/04 | Daniel Roth