Gustav Leonhardt: 1928-2012

Here at the AAM we’re deeply saddened to learn of the death of Gustav Leonhardt. As well as being a brilliant harpsichordist, he was a true pioneer, a personal inspiration to many AAM players, and simply one of the most important musicians of our time.

Gustav taught both the AAM’s founder Christopher Hogwood and our current Music Director Richard Egarr. Richard commented:

“I had the great privilege and pleasure to have studied with Gustav and to know him a little personally.  Both he and his wife Marie were true pioneers in the field of historical performance.  They clung to their ideals of thorough research coupled with (more importantly) a deeply musical and practical application of this knowledge.  This is truly the ending of an era.

“He was an aristocratic man, in some ways demonstrating odd contradictions.  His living environment was utterly eighteenth century: a CD player and fax machine were, I think, grudging additions to the household.  At the same time he had a passion for fast cars.  I remember going on a trip with him and Marie to see a couple of old organs in Holland; being carried there extremely fast along the Dutch motorway in his latest Alfa. After seeing the second organ somewhere in a small suburb it was late and dark and we were somewhat lost. No sat-nav of course.  Gustav just looked up at the sky to get his bearings from the North Star…

“His passing is a huge loss.”

You can read more about Leonhardt and his work here.


  1. Oh, I didn’t know that the AAM had a blog! Yes, a great lost… I had the honour to meet Leonhardt in Córdoba, conducting the Orquesta Barroca de Sevilla. I leave you my article about this genious and his collaboration with the Tölz boys choir. Many thanks.

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