Marion Verbrugge


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Amsterdam-born recorder virtuoso Marion Verbruggen is one of the most extraordinary artists of her generation. Famed for her high-spirited, charismatic and technically dazzling performances, she has earned an international reputation as the leading exponent of her instrument.  She gives concerts throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Israel, Japan and Australia. 

Marion Verbruggen has been a regular concerto soloist with such ensembles as Musica Antiqua Köln, Akademie für Ancient Musik Berlin, The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Tafelmusik Orchestra and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, She collaborates in chamber music ensembles with other renowned early music artists including harpsichordists Gustav Leonhardt, Bob Van Asperen and Ton Koopman, gambist Wieland Kuijken, baroque cellist Jaap ter Linden and violinist Lucy van Dael. She regularly appears in the early music festivals of Utrecht, Berlin, Berkeley, Boston and Tel Aviv.  In addition, Marion Verbruggen gives unaccompanied, solo recitals throughout the world.

Enamored of the recorder from an early age, Marion Verbruggen studied at the Amsterdam Conservatory and the Royal Conservatory in The Hague with Frans Brüggen. Upon receiving her diplomas cum laude, she was invited to join the faculty at the Royal Conservatory. Among her many awards and distinctions, she won the first International Recorder Competition in Bruges, the Nicolai Prize for the Performances of Contemporary Dutch Music, and the Erwin Bodky Award for Early Music.  

Marion Verbruggen guest teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and gives master classes and workshops throughout the world.  Her diverse discography includes music ranging from 17th century Spanish songs and theatre music to her own transcriptions of the JS Bach Cello Suites. She has recorded for BMG, EMI Erato, harmonia mundi usa, Ricercar, Sony, Titanic, and Accent.                                                                               





 “The remarkable Dutch artist gave a brilliant performance: her technique was incredible, her scholarship impeccable, and her unpretentious personality made the program so enjoyable. The performance was pure pleasure.”   

- The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer


 “Telemann imagined his Fantasies on a wooden instrument, with a more rounded and flexible tone. Ms. Verbruggen’s reading suggested the complexities that a wooden instrument allows: the variety of articulation and color she brought to the music magnified the works’ warmth and charm. She seemed to transcend color entirely, suggesting an orchestral fanfare... When Telemann left room for decoration and showmanship, Ms. Verbruggen supplied it with taste and agility, finding a measure of wit in the music that eludes too many interpreters.”

- The New York Times



"The hero of the occasion was soloist Marion Verbruggen. She brought an elegant musicality, contagious expressivity and more textural and dynamic variety than one expects from the small instrument to concerti by Vivaldi and Sammartini. McGegan & Co. gave her tight, affectionate support."

- Los Angeles Times


"The quality of listening and interplay between Verbruggen and the first violins brought an extra dimension."

- Orange County Register


 “The enthusiasm of the phrasing of both soloist and orchestra was catchy. Verbruggen’s trills were miraculous, her breath control heroic. She seems to breathe by choice and seldom by necessity, maintaining the alto recorder’s long line and capturing the audience with the sweetness of her sound.”

- San Francisco Chronicle


 “The main draw is Verbruggen. A far cry from your typical extra-starch baroque soloist, she looks like some European Laurie Anderson. A marvel on her recorders, she plays them with lightning speed and decent intonation. Watch her execute those runs for a while, and you’ll be convinced that, like a certain famous president, she never inhales. She can reduce Vivaldi’s ‘Storm at Sea’ Concerto in F for Alto Recorder, RV 443, to a mere six minutes’ flight of fearless ferocity. With fingers flying in thrilling trills, she brought down the house.”

- San Jose Mercury News



 “Dutch charm and vitality were in abundance. Brilliance also made an appearance every time the Dutch recorder virtuoso Marion Verbruggen took up her instrument. She led a clutch of baroque concertos with the orchestra, all expertly coordinated and showing a fine spirit of ensemble. Her level of skill on the recorder is extraordinary. Rapid repeated notes came out clearly and precisely on the beat. Silvery triplets sounded effortless. She is a high-strung performer who attacks the runs and staccato notes, and uses the orchestra as a backstop. She also looked a bit like the flutist Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull fame in those moments when she touched the end of her recorder to her thigh. The move plugged the recorder’s end hole and extended the instrument’s range by a couple of notes.”

- The Oregonian


 “It was a concert of singular pleasure, laced with luminous playing from Verbruggen and a spirited performance from the Portland ensemble. When she played and conducted, Verbruggen molded the musical line with her head and sometimes shoulders. It wasn’t hard to get her drift from her body language. When she only conducted, she used her expressive hands in the most amazing dance to communicate to the orchestra. Nothing esoteric here; Verbruggen wants clarity. With charm, knowledge and brilliant technique, she proved herself an extraordinary virtuoso and a superb colleague. Bravo.”

- Seattle Post-Intelligencer



"Her easy smile and brimming assurance completed a most stylish soloist package for a concert entitled The Virtuoso Recorder. Her playing was thoroughly and comfortably imbued with the awareness of Baroque style. It is a pleasure to see and hear such complete instrumental ease."

- The Toronto Star


“Marion Verbruggen played her three recorders with life and soul in wonderful plastic curves, in soft trills and spashy runs.”

- Berlingske Tidende


"In addition to playing brilliantly in concertos by Scarlatti, Sammartini, and Vivaldi, Verbruggen added spice to the program by performing an unconventional solo written by the Japanese composer Maki Ishii. He had Verbruggen playing two recorders at once, one from each side of her mouth, one tuned to modern pitch and the other to Baroque. It made for some fascinating microtonal effects."

- The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer


"The early music fabric of the concert got a sharp tug into the 20th century with Japanese composer Make Ishii's 'Black Intention', a piece written in 1985 for one performer playing four instruments. Starting from a pentatonic loop for soprano recorder, Verbruggen vocalized, flutter-tongued, played glissandi and multiphonics, doubled with two recorders, and screamed before making a tiger leap across the stage to beat the gong (literally) for avant-garde virtuosity. Her mastery of the battery of techniques demanded by Ishii matched (and this is really saying something) her capacities with the Baroque repertoire on this exacting program"

- The (Toronto) Globe and Mail


CHAMBER MUSIC with harpsichordist John Gibbons:

  “Verbruggen brings vibrancy to everything she plays. Technically she seems to be without limitations. Her breath control is impressive. Never does she make a physical compromise to the integrity of the phrasing.”

- The Boston Globe


 “A ravishing effort. A superlative performance. The torrents of notes that poured forth, the extraordinary agility, the ability within narrow dynamic limits to convey emotion and musical shape were in another class altogether. Verbruggen is now a towering figure among recorder players: her lithe, intense figure was immersed from head to toe in the music, the fierce energy emanating from her an odd contrast to the sweet, silvery sound. She and Gibbons made wonderful music and apparently enjoyed themselves as much as the audience.”

- Seattle Post-Intelligencer


… with harpsichordist Mitzi Meyerson

"Listening to Verbruggen and Meyerson make their way through music of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries was to feel the pull of history. These splendid players made intimate instruments into brilliant, forward-sounding - indeed, very public - ones. Miss Verbruggen's virtuosity in the Corelli 'Follia' (Op. 5, No. 12) delighted everyone."

- The New York Times / Bernard Holland


"Verbruggen and Meyerson performed a charming concert at Stanford University, with recorder tones softly blossoming and virtuoso playing of the brightest animation. Verbruggen does not seem to breathe. The art of lavishly embellished music is to render the most difficult ornamentation fully, to be free in expression, yet to come out within the rhythmic frame with impeccable nicety. Verbruggen is a master of style." 

- Stanford Times-Tribune


… with cellist Phoebe Carrai & harpsichordist Arthur Haas:

UCLA Center for the Performing Arts presents at the Westwood United Methodist Church:

"Believe what you hear: Verbruggen is a remarkable player, who champions her instrument with grace and chops to spare. Deeply musical and technically nimble, Verbruggen left a strong impression, and her pure tones found a resonant home in this space."

- Los Angeles Times


"Verbruggen, Haas and Carrai make a superb ensemble. Carrai's expressivity and passion matched Verbruggen's superb virtuosity. All three not only played as though they breathed together, but they had a great time doing it. Verbruggen, of course, played like an angel."

- Seattle Post-Intelligencer



 “Verbruggen was ardent and precise; the ethereal beauty of her playing made a good case for reviving the recorder. Her virtuosity simply exhausts the available superlatives in a critic’s vocabulary.” 

- Chicago Tribune


 “The ensemble was moved to rise to the level of Sunday’s guest artist, recorder virtuoso Marion Verbruggen. Her apparently limitless breath and speed and razor-sharp rhythm made short work of Sammartini’s stupendous coloratura demands. Verbruggen has interpretive vision. She can imagine how wondrous the music can be, and then make that wonder real. More importantly, her presence made great impact on the musicians around her.  She is a magnetic, inspiring presence.” 

- The Milwaukee Journal


 “People flocked to the performance to hear Dutch recorder superstar Verbruggen work her magic on the all-Baroque program. The stellar visiting soloist is a fiercely committed chamber musician as well as a true virtuoso.”  

- Milwaukee Sentinel


…with The Newberry Consort:

 “The extraordinary virtuoso, Dutch recorder player Marion Verbruggen joined the group as guest artist. Her artistry was nothing short of breathtaking, whether she was tossing off the fiendishly frantic contrapuntal lines of Nicolaus a Kempis or the birdlike effects of a solo piece by Jacob van Eyck. Her playing strikes the perfect balance of vitality and grace; it was a rare treat to hear both soprano and tenor recorder played so exquisitely.” 

- Chicago Tribune







Bach:  Cello Suites #1-3, arranged by Verbruggen   (HMU 907071)

“This is NOT an absurd production, whatever may be the first impression of some purists. These are committed and convincing performances of Bach cello suites. The music of these suites - structure and expression - is all there, and it is extremely well played. Multiple-stops are adeptly rendered by quick upbeat arpeggiation. Intonation is fine, in spite of the gymnastics demanded by the music, and I like Verbruggen’s tone: bright but not strident, very warm in the lower register, and with a discreet vibrato. Verbruggen ornaments easily, and not to excess. I recommend this disc, for its interesting premise, and for the technically and musically accomplished performances.”



 “All three suites are played brilliantly, with thorough understanding of baroque articulation and the character of the various dances. Verbruggen is well known as one of today’s most outstanding recorder exponents, and her edition can only elicit admiration."



 “Not for purists, but a musically intelligent perspective.” 



 “Here the musical line has been distilled, even purified, so the listener’s focus is narrowed, and Verbruggen’s delicate, sensitive playing more than validates this approach. Through Verbruggen’s artistry, the listener can hear this music anew, all the better to understand and appreciate it.”



 “I must say that the transcriptions really do work. I suspect the great master would have been pleased by this offering. Marion Verbruggen’s playing is excellent, with all the hallmarks of a fine and considered performance.”



“Any technical problems Marion Verbruggen may have encountered in adapting the first three suites for her instrument are barely apparent in the music, which she plays with astonishing fluency. She executed Bach’s long lines with style and expression.” 



“Her technique is really astounding and her transcriptions are surprisingly idiomatic and well suited to the recorder. The recording is enhanced by a reverberant acoustical space that adds depth to the recorder’s sound. The pieces gain melodic clarity on the recorder. This recording is not to be missed by any serious fan or performer of the recorder.”  

SFEMS Newsletter


Handel:  The Complete Sonatas for Recorder

Marion Verbruggen with Ton Koopman & Jaap ter Linden  (HMU 907151).

"Verbruggen, one of the world's great recorder players, offers us a rewarding journey through the complete recorder sonatas of Handel, receiving distinguished accompaniment from Koopman on the harpsichord and cellist ter Linden." 



"The excellent Dutch trio has performed all the sonatas Handel wrote during the 1720's."



"Frankly, it would be difficult to overpraise this disc. Verbruggen's playing is beautifully phrased, and perfectly in tune, qualities not to be taken for granted ever with professional recorder players. Her fast movements have a rhythmic alertness that makes them bounce along, and the ornamentation she casually tosses in makes you catch your breath. Each slow movement is a little work of art, deeply felt, sensuously colored and with elaborately woven decorations that display a profound musical understanding while never obscuring the composer's own long lines."



"Featuring the famous Marion Verbruggen with the equally famous Ton Koopman on the harpsichord, this is a thrilling disc and an inspired gift."



"If you thought the recorder was for kids, think again. Verbruggen takes us on a journey through the complete Handel set and is in dazzling form throughout. Koopman and ter Linden's continuo is likewise imaginative and involved." 



"Verbruggen and her illustrious colleagues select impressive tempi that allow the music to flow with a graceful facility. Five stars." 



"These are very lively and very musically intelligent performances. This is outstandingly fine recorder playing, sweet in tone, pointed in articulation, perfectly tuned, technically very fluent, and informed by a really good understanding of the art of ornamentation. Add to that the fact that Marion Verbruggen has a real command of Handel's language and you will realize that this CD is out of the ordinary. Lively music-making runs throughout this attractive disc."



"The distinguished Dutch wind player renders all six of the chamber pieces Handel penned for recorder in the 1720's. Despite the fact that the instrument is severely limited in its dynamic and coloristic potential, Verbruggen is a virtuosa beyond compare in this repertoire. She spins out blandishing phrases and she kicks up a storm in Handel's dance movements."



“Ay Amor! Spanish 17th Century Songs & Theatre Music”

with The Newberry Consort   (HMU 907022)

 “The remarkable Marion Verbruggen....” 



 “The real reason to buy this disc, though, is guest recorder player Marion Verbruggen. This woman is just an incredible musician: her tone is rich and smooth, her intonation is as perfect as a recorder gets, and she gives real meaning to the old cliche about making it sound so easy.”



Telemann:  Fantasias  (HMU 907158)

"Verbruggen characterizes the many facets of Telemann's style with wonderful flair and caprice, soaring unfettered in the introductory flights of fantasy, effectively colouring the implied fugues, and romping through the Polish folk dances with the 'barbaric beauty' that Telemann so admired."  Performance ****    Sound **** 



"Verbruggen demonstrates an enviable mastery of her instrument, and brings spirit and bravado to her performances, admirably enlivened with fluent ornamentation.  Verbruggen brings much imagination to bear, with perhaps a whimsical touch. The sound, captured at Skywalker Sound, is first-rate.  Recommended." 

FANFARE, May/June 1998


 “The 12 fantasies for solo flute are beautifully crafted miniatures distilling the conventional roles of solo and bass into one. Verbruggen’s inherently ‘Dutch’ approach is pleasingly free, with some deliciously improvisatory ornaments; thankfully she takes fewer liberties with the music than other artists in recent years and the playing is strong, convincing and full of character.”



Telemann:  Concerto for Recorder, Viola da gamba and Strings in A minor - Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment / Monica Huggett  (HMU 907093)

 “Verbruggen is a spirited player who brings the music to life in a spontaneous and effective manner and her performance of the Telemann A minor Suite is much more interesting than many others which I have heard.”



 “Verbruggen is a terrific player and does an excellent job.”



“The performances just couldn’t be better. Gambist Sarah Cunningham and recorder player Marion Verbruggen are seasoned pros, and Monica Huggett spurs on the crackerjack Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment to its most elegant and energetic playing yet. For those who still think early-music groups lack technical finesse, this CD offers a perfect rebuttal.”



 “The performance is top-notch in all respects.” 



 “Telemann may have been the most prolific composer in history. Even more impressive is the high level of invention in his music. The Recorder Suite, which seems to be Telemann’s greatest hit, is a great piece and very well done here. Verbruggen plays with excellent command and style: her embellishments are especially tasty. This is a choice collection of excellently played Telemann, and a fine introduction to his work.” 



Jacob Van Eyck: “The Flutes' Garden of Delights" (HMU 907072 / 907170)

 “Verbruggen - always one of the most demonstrative and individualistic of recorder artists - illustrates that concept with playing of great charm and variety.”



“Recorder star Marion Verbruggen may not need any more fans, but her fleet-fingered rendering of excerpts from Jacob van Eyck’s l7th century ‘The Flute’s Garden of Delights’ is sure to attract new devotees anyway.” 



 “This is a truly delightful CD of music by the blind Dutch composer van Eyck. Marion Verbruggen plays fancifully on two different recorders.”



 “I can think of no better artist than Verbruggen for these pieces. She has an unflappable technique, a highly flexible approach to phrasing, beautiful intonation, and a flair for the dramatic. She has chosen some of the most beautiful pieces from the collection. She is a terrific recorder player and a superb musician. Her command of articulation, particularly the varying length of her ‘detache’ tonguing, makes these readings both interesting and quite beautiful. The sound is ideal." 



 “Verbruggen plays the recorder with amazing skill and versatility. Listening to these pieces can indeed be delightful.”



 “I wouldn’t be surprised if Marion Verbruggen could have given van Eyck a run for his money technically, for she plays with the sureness, firm pitch and facility of a good keyboardist, and one whose hands are perfectly coordinated in the two dubbed duets.”  



Vivaldi: The Four Seasons with the Flanders Recorder Quartet  

(HMU 907153)

"None of the arrangements of Vivaldi's popular set have succeeded as well as this new 'fiddle free' arrangement for five recorders. Vivaldi himself wrote a good bit of music for recorders, and the sound is quite idiomatic and authentic. The arranagement is distinguished by its exceptional musicality, and the performance is stunning, with every phrase beautifully articulated. Marion Verbruggen is an unparalleled virtuoso on this instrument, but who knew that five recorders could provide such a rich palette of colors? I think Vivaldi would have liked this wonderful recording. I love it." Performance:SUPERB           Recording: EXCELLENT



"This is a novelty record but not a parody. The musicians are very accomplished and approach this project with serious intent. A very fine player, Marion Verbruggen has collaborated with this quartet before. The playing is very fine here, and Verbruggen executes some of the expressive solo lines very well indeed." 



"Innovative transcriptions for flutes and piccolo.  Very interesting!"



Vivaldi: Concerto in D Major, “La pastorella”    (HMU 907046)

“The delightful personality of Ms. Verbruggen and her rapport with her colleagues is captured by the engineers with an invigorating immediacy.”



 “Six musicians turn seven mixed concertos for winds and strings into one hour of unmixed delight.”



 “This is a quite wonderful record: the music shows this adorable composer at his most brilliant best. The playing of this exceptionally gifted band is beyond reproach: they must have had a wonderful time making this album. If I hear a finer Baroque record than this in the whole of 1992 I shall be astonished.” 



 “Marion Verbruggen is the queen of the baroque flute. She is an alluring performer, whose performances of Vivaldi are without equal.” 



Vivaldi: Recorder Concerti - Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan  (HMU 907040)

“Marion Verbruggen plays a recorder, dialogues with an excellent bassoonist, and makes no bones about being the soloist in seven Vivaldi concertos with the expert early-instrument orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque conducted by Nicholas McGegan. I would pick this disc for its technical virtuosity, fidelity to baroque practices, and above all the remarkable expressiveness Verbruggen gets from a usually rather inexpressive instrument.”



 “The performances are delightful and unfailingly musical, and the playing of both soloists and orchestra throughout is impeccable. The recording is admirable. Very strongly recommended.”



 “Clear like a bird. These popular Vivaldi concertos are offered with no strings attached, so gay and airy is the mood of play and manner of recording. Certainly you could not find Vivaldi that is fresher or more carefree. Marion Verbruggen dances in and out of the way of the playful chamber orchestra and the whole effect is bouncy and delectable.”



 “Marion Verbruggen is a deft soloist - her playing of the tiny sopranino recorder is especially exciting.”   



 “Though Dutch-born, recorderist Verbruggen concertises frequently in the Bay Area. She is an acknowledged virtuoso who imparts genuine musicianship to an instrument that in other hands frequently sounds like nothing more than a penny-whistle. McGegan guides his period-instrument band and harpsichord continuo with unflagging spontaneity and brio.”



 “Vivaldi is imaginatively explored by the Dutch virtuoso Marion Verbruggen. It’s difficult to imagine these keyless, end-blown wooden flutes being capable of as much sound variety as that drawn from them by Verbruggen.”