SIMON VAN HOLEN
Professional Bassoonist, Professor & Masterclass Instructor
Simon Van Holen is the Solo-Contrabassoon of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He enjoys a rich musical career that includes performing, recording and teaching. He has performed with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luzern Festival Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. He is regularly invited as both a soloist and teacher in the US, Europe and Asia.
Born in Belgium, Simon Van Holen received his first bassoon lessons at the age of eight. Although not yet big enough to master the instrument he was very determined. In 2003, he entered The Royal Conservatory in The Hague and went on to complete his studies in 2010 at the Robert Schumann Musikhochschule in Düsseldorf, graduating with the Highest Distinction under the tutelage of Prof. Gustavo Núñez. He further enriched his studies with Brian Pollard, Klaus Thunemann, Dag Jensen, Stefan Schweigert, Sergio Azzolini and Marion Reinhard.
Simon's career as a professional orchestral musician began even before completing his musical studies. He has been a member of the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester, and has been invited to play in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orchestra de l’ Opera de Rouen and the Norrköpings Symfoniorkester. In 2007 he earned an Academy Position with the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker where he was later appointed Solo-Contrabassoonist in 2011.
An active chamber musician from a very young age, Van Holen became the recipient of the prestigious ‘Villa-Musica Rheinland-Pfalz’ Scholarship. He also took part in the Zermatt Festival Academy and the Gustav Mahler Academy, and had the pleasure of performing with legendary musicians such as Menahem Pressler, Ingo Goritzki, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Jürgen Kussmaul and Wolfgang Boettcher.
In 2013, Simon Van Holen was awarded the prize ‘Prix de Salon’ by the business circle of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for his extraordinary musicianship. The award made it possible for the commission of a new work for contrabassoon and string quintet by Dutch composer Kees Olthuis and the recording of his debut-album ‘Pro Contra!’, which has been released at Challenge Records.
Aside from his orchestral career, Simon Van Holen is Professor for Bassoon and Contrabassoon at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam and regularly gives masterclasses around the globe. Since October 2017 he has also been a contrabassoon instructor at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Cologne.