Jan Wolff


Jan Wolff (b. 1941) is one of the main figures in the contemporary music world of Holland. He grew up aspiring to become a full-time musician, and graduated in 1960 from the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum (now the Sweelinck Conservatory) as a horn player who had also studied piano, orchestra conducting, and counterpoint.

As a horn player, Wolff worked under all of the great national and international conductors in practically all of the major Dutch orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Netherlands Opera, and the orchestras of the Dutch Radio.

A fan of 20th century music written for smaller and larger ensembles, Wolff spent the 1960’s becoming a driving force behind such ensembles for classical and contemporary music. Many of these groups are now a part of the Dutch new music establishment, such as The Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Orkest De Volharding, and the Willem Breuker Kollektief.

Expanding the performance possibilities for new music and the opportunities for musicians specialized in new music has always been one of Wolff’s main concerns, and this has gradually turned him into the foremost organizer and key figure of the new music scene in Holland.

In 1979 Wolff founded the Amsterdam Center for Contemporary Music, "De Ijsbreker," of which he continues to be the director.

De Ijsbreker

Founded by Director Jan Wolff in 1979, De Ijsbreker (The Amsterdam Center for Contemporary Music) is one of the few institutions in the world which offers new music performances all year round. Its activities have become of such importance within the Dutch cultural world that the organization inspired the City of Amsterdam to build a new concert hall dedicated entirely to the music of the 20th century. In 2002, Mr. Wolff will present his first series of concerts in this hall.