Aafje Heynis

Aafje Heynis

Dutch contralto singer and vocal coach
Country: Netherlands

  1. Biography of Aafje Heynis
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Rise to Fame
  4. International Success
  5. Later Life and Pedagogical Work

Biography of Aafje Heynis

Aafje Heynis is a Dutch contralto singer and vocal pedagogue. She was born and raised in Blaricum, North Holland.

Aafje Heynis

Early Life and Career

Heynis discovered her talent for singing at a young age. Growing up in a musical family, she was surrounded by music and often sang with her parents and sister for their own enjoyment. However, it was the keen ear of a local choir conductor that recognized her exceptional voice and encouraged her to pursue a professional singing career.

Aafje Heynis

Following the advice of the choir conductor, Heynis auditioned for vocal teacher Jo Immink in Amsterdam. Impressed by her potential, Immink recommended her to renowned soprano Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius, who became Heynis' vocal mentor from 1946 to 1949. Notably, she also received guidance from baritone Laurens Bogtman and Roy Henderson, the teacher of Kathleen Ferrier.

Rise to Fame

Heynis' career took off when she caught the attention of the public with her performance of Brahms' "Alto Rhapsody" accompanied by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Eduard van Beinum. She became known for her emotionally charged performances, rich tone, and exceptional musicality. Heynis quickly gained recognition as a talented oratorio singer and expanded her repertoire to include classical songs, romances, and spirituals.

She recorded numerous works by composers such as Brahms, Bach, Handel, and Mendelssohn for the Philips label. However, she had a particular affinity for the works of Gustav Mahler. Heynis' versatility allowed her to excel in concerts, church performances, and operas.

International Success

Heynis' talent brought her international fame, and she performed with renowned orchestras and conductors such as Igor Markevitch, Erich Kleiber, and Szymon Goldberg. She traveled extensively, giving concerts in Belgium, Germany, England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Austria, as well as touring in India and Indonesia.

In 1961, Heynis was awarded the prestigious Harriet Cohen Medal for her outstanding artistry.

Later Life and Pedagogical Work

After a successful career, Heynis retired from performing and dedicated herself to teaching vocal technique. She currently resides in Blaricum, North Holland, and continues to inspire and train young singers.

Heynis' extraordinary talent, expressive voice, and musicality have left an indelible mark on the world of classical music. Her recordings and performances continue to be cherished by music enthusiasts worldwide.