Elly Ameling

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Elly Ameling in 1983

Elisabeth Sara "Elly" Ameling (born 8 February 1933) is a Dutch soprano, who is particularly known for lieder recitals and for performing works by Johann Sebastian Bach. Performing with distinguished pianists and ensembles around the globe, she was awarded various honours and recording prizes.


Ameling was born in Rotterdam where she grew up.[1] She later sang with Pierre Bernac. She won the first prize during the International Vocal Competition 's-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands (1956)[2] and the Concours International de Musique in Geneva (1958).[1] After her professional début as a concert singer in Rotterdam in 1953, she performed for more than forty years in virtually every major cultural centre in the world. She appeared with most of the leading international orchestras and conductors, including Seiji Ozawa, André Previn, Wolfgang Sawallisch,[3] Neville Marriner, Karl Münchinger and Edo de Waart.

She made her career mainly as a concert and lieder singer with some excursions into opera, and became world-renowned for her recitals of French and German songs and for her superlative interpretive gifts. She has been equally at home in chamber music, orchestral music, operas, and oratorios. Her operatic roles included Ilia in Mozart's Idomeneo, Fiordiligi in his Così fan tutte in 1958, Jacqueline in Messager's Fortunio in 1959, and the Marchesa in Verdi's Un giorno di regno in 1974,[4] She made her U.S. recital debut at New York's Lincoln Center in 1968 and her opera debut in 1974 as Ilia in Mozart's Idomeneo in Washington, D.C. In 1974, Ameling also performed for the Peabody Mason Concert series in Boston.[5]

Contemporary works, particularly by her countrymen Bertus van Lier [nl] and Robert Heppener, are also part of her large repertoire. Ameling has recorded more than 150 albums and has won many recording prizes, including The Edison Award, the Grand Prix du Disque and the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik. When she retired in 1995, she was regarded as one of the most admired and recorded female lieder singers.[1] She now teaches at the Franz Schubert Institut alongside Julius Drake, Helmut Deutsch, Roger Vignoles, and Cynthia Hoffmann.


For her services to music, Ameling has been awarded four honorary degrees and has been knighted, in 1971, by Her Majesty the Queen of The Netherlands to the Order of Orange-Nassau. In 2008, she received the highest civil decoration in the Netherlands, the Order of the Netherlands Lion. In 2015, she was awarded the Hugo Wolf Medal of the International Hugo Wolf Academy [de] in Stuttgart.[6]


Ameling's recordings focus on lieder, with pianists and orchestras. She recorded two songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the English Chamber Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Britten at the 1969 Aldeburgh Festival.[7] In 1970, she recorded Beethoven's Mass in C major with the New Philharmonia Chorus and Orchestra, conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, alongside Janet Baker, Theo Altmeyer and Marius Rintzler.[8] She recorded in 1979 Mahler Second and Fourth Symphony with the Netherlands Radio Chorus and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink, the Second alongside Aafje Heynis.[9] In 1985, she recorded the Schubert's complete incidental music to Rosamunde with the Rundfunkchor Leipzig and the Gewandhausorchester, conducted by Kurt Masur.[10] In 1974 she made, with pianist Dalton Baldwin, the first complete recording of Mozart's lieder for Philips Records. This is still considered to be the reference recording of these works, despite the existence of other cycles.


  1. ^ a b c Crutchfied, Will (1995). "To the Heart of Song, a Final Time". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  2. ^ "401ivca.com – Winners". 401ivca.com. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  3. ^ Bernheimer, Martin (11 April 1995). "Music Review : A Poignant Goodby From Elly Ameling". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  4. ^ "To the Heart of Song, a Final Time". Nederlandse Opera (in Dutch). 8 February 2018. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  5. ^ Boston Globe, 7 November 1974, Michael Steinberg, "Ameling recital a memorial to Faure"
  6. ^ Benda, Susanne (10 November 2015). "Hugo-Wolf-Akademie / Auszeichnung für Sängerin Elly Ameling". Stuttgarter Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  7. ^ Duggan, Tony (May 1999). "Mahler: Symphony No.4* Songs of a Wayfarer# Two songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  8. ^ Quinn, John (October 2008). "Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) / Missa Solemnis in D major Op, 123 / Mass in C major Op. 86". musicweb-international.com. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Mahler Complete Symphonies". Gramophone. November 1994. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Schubert – Elly Ameling, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Kurt Masur – Rosamunde (Complete)". discogs.com. 1985. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  11. ^ "To the Heart of Song, a Final Time". Gramophone. 1985. Retrieved 29 June 2018.


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