Eduard van Beinum

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Eduard van Beinum (1954)

Eduard Alexander van Beinum (born September 3, 1900 in Arnhem , † April 13, 1959 in Amsterdam ) was a Dutch conductor .


Eduard van Beinum began as a violist in the Arnhemse Orkestvereniging , where his father played the double bass and his brother the violin . He also played the piano and performed both solo and with his brother. He was first conductor of the Haarlem Symfonieorkest (1927-31), which he led to a higher standard. In 1929 he received the first invitation from the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam , and in 1931 he moved to the vacant position of second conductor . Van Beinum was quickly adored by the orchestral musicians because he saw them as partners and did not impose his own will on them like chief conductor Willem Mengelberg . At that time, however, the audience was less convinced of van Beinum, as they were used to an unconditional personality like Mengelberg and also found van Beinum's objective readings in relation to Mengelbergs cold and superficial.

Van Beinum continuously received offers for chief conductor positions in other Dutch orchestras; When in 1937 the Residentie Orkest Den Haag , which was considered the second best in the Netherlands after the Concertgebouw Orchestra, asked, van Beinum was not averse at first. The musicians and the administration of the Concertgebouw Orchestra wanted to keep him and made him second chief conductor next to Mengelberg. After Mengelberg was in exile for six years in the Netherlands during the war due to his friendly attitude towards Germany, the role of the now only chief conductor remained with van Beinum. He also held the same post in 1948 and 1949 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra .

Van Beinum was already suffering from heart problems at this time, so the orchestra looked for another conductor. During the 1950/51 season he could hardly perform. From 1956 until his death he was also music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra . Van Beinum died of a heart attack in 1959 while rehearsing Brahms ' 1st Symphony with the Concertgebouw Orchestra . He was buried at his place of residence in the village of Garderen in the Veluwe region. As a successor to the Concertgebouw Orchestra he had (not officially) planned Bernard Haitink .


Van Beinum was the opposite of the idiosyncratic and dominant Mengelberg. He respected the orchestra musicians and allowed them a lot of interpretational freedom. His style was very objective, but - also because of his mostly rapid tempos - seldom boring. He was of the opinion that the content of a work becomes clearer if you let the music speak for itself and not emphasize every nuance. He was able to maintain the great virtuosity of the Concertgebouw orchestra from the long Mengelberg phase, but also achieved an extraordinary beauty of the sound as well as great naturalness and permanent tension of the musical flow.

Van Beinum's sound recordings, most of which are in mono ( Philips only started stereo recordings in 1957 ), stayed in the catalog until the 1960s, as long as mono players were widespread. They were later forgotten, since van Beinum did not enjoy the fame of a historically significant conductor like Toscanini or Furtwängler , and were essentially only re-released on CD in the 1990s. His most important recordings include orchestral works by Johannes Brahms (including all symphonies) and the last three symphonies by Anton Bruckner for Philips. He also conducted French music (especially Berlioz , Debussy and Ravel ) frequently, also for sound recordings, as well as many contemporary Dutch composers, including some in world premieres.



  • Karl Ph. Bernet Kempers, Marius Flothuis (Ed.): Eduard van Beinum . Gottmer, Haarlem / Antwerp 1959 (Dutch)
  • Bart van Beinum: Eduard van Beinum. Over zijn leven en Werk . Thoth, Bussum 2000. ISBN 90-6868-263-6 (Dutch)
  • Truus de Leur: Eduard van Beinum 1900-1959. Musicus tussen musici . Thoth, Bussum 2004. ISBN 90-6868-359-4 (Dutch)
  • Eduard Alexander van Beinum , in: Internationales Biographisches Archiv 28/1959 of June 29, 1959, in the Munzinger Archive ( beginning of article freely available)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. after John L. Holmes: Conductors. A record collector's guide . Gollancz, London 1988, ISBN 0-575-04088-2 .
  2. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.59 MB)
  3. The golden Mahler Medal (accessed October 29, 2014)