José Verstappen To Receive Howard Mayer Brown Award

José Verstappen, artistic director of Early Music Vancouver, will receive the Howard Mayer Brown Award for lifetime achievement in the field of early music.

This prestigious award, presented by Early Music America, is named in memory of the renowned and beloved musicologist from the University of Chicago, Howard Mayer Brown.

José Verstappen was born on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in the Netherlands Antilles, just before the start of World War II. At age sixteen, the family moved back to the Netherlands; until the age of 35 he lived in Amsterdam. In 1975 he moved to Vancouver, Canada where, after a few years, he was engaged as manager (subsequently executive director, and more recently artistic director) with the Vancouver Society for Early Music — which later became known as Early Music Vancouver.

Under José's leadership, Early Music Vancouver has gained increasing local and international acclaim as the largest presenter of early music in Canada, and as one of the most active and innovative organizations in its field in North America. Over the past thirty-three years, Early Music Vancouver has presented Canada’s finest talent, as well as virtually all major international artists and ensembles working in early music.

He is also proud of the educational activities of the Vancouver Early Music Programme & Festival during the summer months. This Programme has over the years become recognized as one of North America’s foremost institutes for the study and performance of early music — and has had a significant impact on the performance of early music across the continent. 

José has served on the Board of Directors of Early Music America. He has been a member of the Board of MusicFest Vancouver from its inception, and has also served on the Board of Directors of Blackbird Theatre in Vancouver.

In 2008, he was awarded the country's highest civilian honour, the Order of Canada, in recognition of a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Earlier this year, he became the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. 

  • Past winners of the Howard Mayer Brown award include:
  • Kathleen Fay, Executive Director, Boston Early Music Festival (2011)
  • Benjamin Bagby, Director, Sequentia ensemble for medieval music (2010)
  • Stanley Ritchie, Indiana University (2009)
  • Robert Cole, Cal Performances (2008)
  • Mary Springfels, Newberry Consort (2007) 

Read more about Early Music America's annual awards here.


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