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Jörgen van Rijen

Jörgen van Rijen

Principal trombonist of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Jörgen van Rijen is also much in demand as a soloist with a special commitment to promoting his instrument, developing new repertoire for the trombone and bringing the existing repertoire to a broader audience. He is a specialist on both the modern and baroque trombone. He has performed as a soloist in most European countries, as well as the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Singapore and Australia and performed concertos with orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Taiwan Philharmonic, Nagoya Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra under James MacMillan, Dallas Symphony Orchestra under Gustavo Gimeno, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under Jonathan Nott, the Orchestra of the Staatstheater Cottbus, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins.


He recently premiered Bryce Dessner’s Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra with the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn at the Koelner Philharmonie. The piece is a joint commission by the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra Heilbronn, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège and Orchestre National d'Île-de-France. 


Jörgen van Rijen was awarded the Netherlands Music Prize in 2004, the highest distinction in the field of music by the Dutch Ministry of Culture. In 2006 he received the prestigious Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, which is presented yearly to a selection of the most promising and talented young international soloists and ensembles. He has won other major prizes, including first prizes at the international trombone competitions of Toulon and Guebwiller.


In a review of his first CD, the music magazine Luister wrote: “van Rijen is a real ambassador of his instrument, which is still not often used as a virtuoso brass instrument among composers. But there are not that many trombonists who reach the brilliant level of van Rijen. In sound, dynamic, colour, musical understanding and expressiveness, van Rijen is unequalled...”


Many new pieces have been written for van Rijen, including a trombone concerto by Theo Verbey, and works by Nico Muhly and Tan Dun. In the spring of 2012, Jörgen premiered a trombone concerto by Kalevi Aho that was written for him as a commission from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, with concerts with the The Hague Philharmonic, the Oulu Sinfonia in Finland and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. For the last concert, The Times wrote: “... van Rijen and Aho turned the trombone into a fount of melodic grace and gambolling, cradled over four generous movements by an equally refined orchestra..." In April 2017 he performed the world premiere of a trombone concerto by James MacMillan, composed for him with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Ivan Fischer. He has since performed MacMillan’s concerto with orchestras in the US, Finland, Japan, Belgium, Switzerland and Germany. In coming seasons, he will appear as a soloist with the Royal Concertgebouw, the Hong Kong Philharmonic and Toronto Symphony Orchestras, as well as Philharmonie du Luxembourg and Orchestre National de France amongst others.


Van Rijen teaches at the Amsterdam Conservatory and has been appointed International Visiting Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, London. He is also an active chamber musician in ensembles such as the New Trombone Collective, RCO Brass and Brass United.


He plays exclusively on instruments built by Antoine Courtois and has released 5 CDs on the label Channel Classics, including Fratres with members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which he recently performed at the Bach Festival in Dordrecht.