Conductor & Pianist Jan Hupperts Passes Away At 97

By Nicole Kuchta
(Credit: Peter Wijnands)

Conductor and pianist Jan Hupperts passed away on Sunday, Jul. 28, 2019 at the age of 97. His family made the announcement on Monday.

According to De Limburger, Hupperts, born on Oct. 24, 1921 in Gulpen, studied piano, organ, and choir conducting at the Stedelijk Muziek Lyceum in Maastricht and later in Amsterdam. He continued his education through World War II with German-Jewish pianist Walter Kaufman, in secret – not even his own parents knew.

He was discovered by Frits Schuurman in 1945, performing Rachmaninov with the Residentieorkest in Den Haag and Lieden within several months.

Hupperts was a long-standing presence at the Zuid-Nederlandse Opera, and led the ToonkunstKoor Roermond and ToonkunstKoor Maastricht for many years, remaining active into his early nineties. He also led choirs in South and Central Limburg, founding the Limburgs Concert Koor.

Hupperts will be remembered not only for his own talents but for his devotion to sharing knowledge, teaching in Maastricht to combat languishing music education.

“I can’t live without music,” he shared in 2011. “I have experienced quite a few difficulties in recent years, but when I sit behind my piano, I lose it all for a moment” (“Ik kan niet zonder muziek. Ik heb de laatste jaren best wat vervelende dingen meegemaakt, maar als ik achter mijn vleugel zit, raak ik het even allemaal kwijt”).