Reitze Smits

Reitze Smits studied organ, harpsichord, composition, improvisation and musicology in Utrecht and The Hague. The interpretation of baroque music and his fascination for the music of Bach defined his career for many years. He won first and second prizes on several international organ-competitions (Toulouse, Bruges, Nijmegen). With his baroque-ensemble Concerto Strumentale he performed in international festivals, where especially his “reconstructions” of organ-concertos by Bach highly were appreciated. In cooperation with singers he conducted performances of north German composers and Bach, among others his St.John’s Passion.
Inspired by his work as organ professor at the music high schools in Utrecht (NL) and Leuven (B), improvisation and the organ repertoire at large attracted his full attention again. He appears in concerts in many European countries and was guest professor at international organ-courses in Haarlem, Toulouse, Brno, on Mallorca, etc.

In several CD-recordings he is surveying the borders of the repertoire for organ, harpsichord and pianoforte (e.g. first recording of Bach’s Toccatas Manualiter on organ, arrangements from works of Schubert, Mozart and Mendelssohn). The organ-arrangements of piano works by Mendelssohn, especially the “Variations Sérieuses”, and others were internationally recognized and appear in print, as well as his own compositions. Recently he recorded cd’s with his own arrangements of works by Satie, Poulenc and Milhaud, as well as the “Dritter teil der Clavier Übung” of Bach.

In 2000 he started festival “Voor de Wind”, which brings the organ with multi-disciplined programming under the attention of a large audience. A successful tour with Dance Works Rotterdam on music of Bach and Milhaud was one of the fine results. He is artistic leader of the festival, which had a successful international edition in 2011 as “Connecting Arts”.
He performs also as improviser in the trio Wind Images with his Frisian colleagues, a percussionist and a performing poet.
In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious Sweelinck-prize for his contributions to the Dutch organ culture.
For more information, please visit www.reitzesmits.nl
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