Peter Holtslag

Peter Holtslag

Historical Performance


Visiting Professor of Recorder

Born in Amsterdam in 1957, Peter Holtslag studied recorder at the Conservatorium of his native town, graduating ‘cum laude’ in 1980, his leading sources of inspiration being Frans Brüggen and Kees Boeke. From then onwards he has toured worldwide as a recorder and transverse flute player.

A distinguished soloist and chamber musician, playing both "early" and contemporary music, he shared the concert platform with musicians such as Gustav Leonhardt, William Christie, Roy Goodman and ensembles such as The English Concert, The Orchestra of the 18th Century, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, La Fontegara Amsterdam and Trio Noname. He has also recorded for radio stations all over the globe ( ABC Sydney, National Radio USA, WDR Köln, NOS Holland, New Zealand Radio, BBC London etc ). He appeared at major festivals in many of the European cultural capitals including Utrecht, London, Lisbon, Paris, Berlin and Copenhagen.

His c.25 CD-recordings on most major labels (such as Hyperion, DGG/Archiv, Chandos) have won international acclaim. From 1984 to 1988 Peter taught at the Guildhall School of Music in London and in 1988 he was appointed as professor to both the Royal Academy of Music and the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. He was a guest lecturer at the City University London and held numerous international master classes all over the globe (Amsterdam, Berlin, Budapest, Cracow, Hong Kong, Lisbon, Prague, St. Petersburg, Helsinki institutions). He teaches at international summer courses in Lisbon, Trondheim and the Czech Republic and is one of the founding members of the Academia de Musica Antiga de Lisboa - an institution holding international summer schools in Portugal.

Peter is an authority on the music of the 16th to 18th centuries and, unlike many other performers striving for authentic renderings, he prefers to see early music in the light of its rhetorical traditions rather than let it follow a stolid motoric course.

Research Profile

My international profile as a recorder player is complemented by my research profile. My research interests cover the 16th and 17th centuries, in particular the correlation between instrumental and vocal music. During the 19th Century, the tendency to treat instrumental music independently from any vocal, rhetorical heritage (apart from melodic writing in the tradition of Bel Canto) led to the misunderstanding of unarticulated phrasing, which is still evident in many modern performing styles.

My current research project covers the quest for repertoire belonging to the unusually-sized recorder types of Peter Bressan and Thomas Stanesby, two of the leading makers in London between 1690 and 1730. Apart from their unequalled playing qualities, these instruments show a lavishly expensive manufacturing style. Therefore, they must have been more than just experiments. Yet, up to the present today, we don't know the repertoire they were made for.