Elly Ameling – Leeds Lieder President
“Some Thoughts on the Art of Song”

At the publication of these talks, March 2020 , Miss Ameling says: “Especially in these days of pandemic worries, I hope we can take an intermission and relax for a moment, in order to concentrate on our beloved Art Song: what it is all about – and how we HEAR and ENJOY it!

View a PDF pamphlet from Elly Ameling here


Credits; Camera – editing; Luuk Janssen, Thom Janssen Audio – audio editing; Jos Ruiters Production – autocue; Thom Janssen

Elly Ameling, soprano, was born in 1933 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. She won the International Vocal Contest in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NL) in 1956 cum laude. She subsequently won first prize at the Concours International de Musique de Geneve (CH) in 1958.This established the start of a remarkable career.

After working with Miss Ameling, Ernest Ansermet described her thus: “A good voice is a blessing from somewhere above. Madame Ameling stands continually under this downpour, of which the romanticists would have said it is of divine origin.”

She combined the right mix of talent, ambition and determination to become one of the world’s great Lieder singers of the second half of the 20th century. She possessed a perfectly placed voice with a creamy timbre and a soft edge. Apart from the ethereal beauty of her instrument, she was also an utterly imaginative and at the same time faithful interpreter. Her singing conveyed Schubert’s love and pain, made us float in Debussy, and took us to dramatic extremes in compositions of Hugo Wolf and Richard Strauss. Having once heard the Ameling phenomenon one can never forget it.

A shrewd artist with real selfknowledge Elly Ameling never went beyond her boundaries. In this way she kept her voice in pristine state during her entire career. This is obvious when one listens to her 5 CD-boxes of live radio-recordings: one issued in 2008 on the occasion of her 75th birthday and the next box in 2013 at her 80th birthday. On these recordings, from her first to her last concert during more than four decades, we hear a soprano continuously in full control of the technique, and with an ever wider span of expression. These CD’s also contain some rare excursions into operatic repertoire: Mozart with a.o. all the female roles in the Marriage of Figaro, Gounod (Faust, Marguerite), Bizet (Carmen, Micaela) and Maillart (Les dragons de Villars).

During her whole career she produced studio-recordings with virtually all record companies. These were awarded many international prizes like Edison Prize, Grand Prix du Disque and Preis der Deutschen Schallplatten-Kritik.

In 2012 EMI issued the 8 CD-box ‘Elly Ameling, the Dutch Nightingale’.

She concertized on all continents in every major music centre. She sang recitals with pianists Dalton Baldwin, Joerg Demus , Irwin Gage, Rudolf Jansen, Graham Johnson, Felix de Nobel and others.

She performed oratorio and the orchestral lieder-, and mélodie-repertoire with the leading orchestras of the world under the baton of Karl Ančerl, Ernest Ansermet, Benjamin Britten, Eduard Flipse, Jean Fournet, Carlo Maria Giulini, Bernard Haitink, Josef Krips, Rafael Kubelik, Erich Leinsdorf, Neville Marriner, Kurt Masur, Seji Ozawa, André Previn, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Ed Spanjaard, Hans Vonk and other conductors.

1971: knighted by Her Majesty Queen Juliana of the Netherlands: Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau.
1981: doctor honoris causa University ol British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
1985: doctor honoris causa Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.
1986: doctor honoris causa The Cleveland Institute of Music, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
1988: doctor honoris causa Shenandoah University, Washington DC, USA.
1996: Elly Ameling Ring, Concertgebouw Amsterdam.
2008: knighted in the highest civil order by Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands: ridder in de orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw.
2015: Ehren Medaille der Hugo Wolf Akademie , Stuttgart.

In 1996 Elly Ameling bade her farewell to the concert platform, during a grand gala concert, at which occasion the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam instituted the ‘Elly Ameling Ring’ and placed her portrait in bronze in the picture gallery in one of the foyers. Until this day (March 2020) the soprano is busy giving master classes and workshops at conservatories and summer-schools in Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States of America.