25 JULY 2019


Last night, my dear friend Anner Bijlsma passed away due to a stroke.
He was my teacher, hero, my advisor, mentor, and my friend through many life challenges. His ability to surprise and affect me with his novel and constantly changing interpretations of known and unknown repertoire was unmatched.
We are lucky with the numerous recordings he left behind of Bach, Boccherini, and Russian Romantics, as well as Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, to name a few.
His completely genuine, energetic, and unconventional attitude towards life and music have had an enormous impact on me as a person, and are an essential part of what the Cello Biënnale Amsterdam is built upon. Frequent meetings at his home, where major existential questions often arose, formed a continuous source of inspiration.
Anner Bijlsma’s last public performance was at the first Cello Biënnale in 2006.
Despite only 3(!) of his fingers still being functional, he was determined to enrich us with his touching interpretation of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. Fortunately, he spent years more with the Festival, giving Masterclasses and extremely interesting ‘Talks with ….’
In honour of his 80­­th birthday, Anner Bijlsma was awarded a major prize, to be named the Anner Bijlsma Award from then on.
The world has said goodbye to a unique human being and a briljant musician.

Thank you, Anner!

Maarten Mostert
Artistic director Cello Biënnale Amsterdam