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Aafje Heynis (born 2 May 1924, Krommenie) is a Dutch contralto. In 1961, she was awarded the Harriet Cohen International Music Award. A tea rose, hybridised by Buisman 1964, was named after her.
At the age of four Heynis sang in a children's choir as well as with her father at the harmonium. On the advice of Jan Mienes, the conductor of the choral society in her native town of Krommenie, she auditioned for teacher Jo Immink in Amsterdam with an arrangement of the "Pilgrims' Chorus" from Wagner's "Tannhauser". From 1946 to 1949 her singing teacher was Aaltje Noorderwier-Reddingius and she was also advised by Laurens Bogtman, the great oratorio singer.
She quickly established her reputation, to begin with in the field of oratorio. With her performance in Brahms' Alto Rhapsody with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Eduard van Beinum, she attracted wide attention. She performed many concerts in churches, Lieder recitals, and numerous performances of Bach's St. Matthew Passion. For the Philips label she made a whole series of recordings of works by Brahms, Bach, Handel and Mendelssohn.
However Aafje Heynis showed a particular preference for Gustav Mahler, one consequence of which was a legendary recording of Mahler's Symphony No.2 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aafje Heynis", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
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