Baroque Violinist Marie Leonhardt has Died, Aged 93
She was an early music pioneer and concertmaster of the Leonhardt-Consort, a baroque ensemble founded by her husband Gustav Leonhardt in 1955
Born in Switzerland in 1928, Swiss-Dutch violinist Marie Leonhardt, née Amsler, passed away in Amsterdam recently. Growing up in a musical family, her close acquaintances included Swiss conductor Paul Sacher and cellist August Wenzinger.
Marie began her violin studies at the Geneva Conservatory with Michel Schwalbé — who later became concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic — and with Walter Kägi at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.
Before moving to Vienna, Marie completed her private music studies with Max Rostal in London and later became acquainted with violinist Alice Harnoncourt and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who were married in 1953 — the same year as Marie and Gustav Leonhardt.
She became the concertmaster of the Leonhardt-Consort, founded by her husband Gustav, who died in 2012.
This is sad news that now two of the most significant members of HIP movement have passed away in a matter of days: Alice Harnoncourt and now Marie Leonhardt. Honoured that Marie attended the LBS 50th Anniversary cantata concert , which Gustav directed. She loved @StBartholomews https://t.co/k0xWXlBjrv
— London Bach Society (LBS) (@bachlive) July 25, 2022
Marie also performed in the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra and was first violinist in the Musica Antiqua Amsterdam — created in 1969 by Gustav’s former student, Ton Koopman.
As an educator, Marie held teaching roles at the Rotterdam Conservatory and the Geneva Conservatory, in their early music department. Additionally, she taught masterclasses world-wide and performed on a 1676 Jacob Stainer violin.
Our condolences to Ms. Leonhardt’s family, friends, students, and colleagues.
Her rendition of the “Chaconne” from Bach’s Partita No. 2 for solo violin can be heard below.