Stijn Berkouwer is a young and energetic conductor from the Netherlands. He has conducted Het Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, het Gelders Orkest, the Noord Nederlands Orkest, the Savaria Symphony Orchestra, the Croatian Chamber orchestra, the Brandenburgisches Staatorchester Frankfurt and the Sächsische Bläserphilharmonie, where he conducted several Christmas tours and youth concerts. As an assistant he has worked with Iván Fischer at the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Antony Hermus at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He graduated from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin in May 2014. During his master studies there he studied with professor Christian Ehwald and professor Hans Dieter Baum. He obtained his bachelor Orchestral Conducting with Lucas Vis at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, graduating in June 2011. In 2016 he was awarded the Anton Kersjes scholarship for young conductors.
Stijn Berkouwer has a strong connection to opera. He was second assistant to Simon Rattle and the Rotterdam Philharmonic with Der Rosenkavalier at the Dutch National Opera. As an assistant conductor he has also worked with the Nederlandse Reisopera (Dutch Touring Opera) during productions of The Pearlfishers, Madame Butterfly and Così Fan Tutte. He assisted Manuel Nawri at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin with a world première of an opera by Evan Gardner and assisted Bas Wiegers with the Residentie Orkest at the Dutch National Opera Academy. Stijn Berkouwer has conducted productions of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, Les Mamelles de Tiresias and Le Nozze di Figaro and several modern productions with the Opera Lab Berlin. In 2017 he assisted at Opera Zuid where he also conducted a performance of Massenet’s Werther.
Stijn Berkouwer works regularly with amateur orchestras. In 2019 he was named chief-conductor of Symfonieorkest de Philharmonie in Amsterdam and of Krashna Musika in Delft and in 2021 became chief conductor of the USKO (Utrechts Studenten Koor en Orkest). During his studies in Amsterdam he founded the Orchestra along the Amstel. With these orchestras he worked with soloists such as Dmitri Ferschtman, Claron McFadden, Hannes Minnaar, David Wilson Johnson, Claudia Patacca and Dutch actor Bram van der Vlugt and performed among others Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem, Mahlers 2nd and 4th Symphony, Prokofiev’s 6th Symphony and Mozarts Le Nozze Di Figaro.
Stijn Berkouwer was a participant in masterclasses during the Lucerne Festival with Bernard Haitink and with David Robertson, at Tanglewood with Stefan Asbury and at the Bartok Festival with Peter Eötvös. He also participated in masterclasses with Peter Rundel, Colin Metters, Johannes Schlaefli, Jorma Panula and the Dirigenten Werkstatt des Kritischen Orchester.
Stijn Berkouwer studied composition with Willem Jeths and Daan Manneke and also has an affinity with modern music. He has conducted a CD recording of selected works from a GEMA composition competition with the Sächsische Bläserphilharmonie, won the first prize at the Hanns Eisler competition for modern music and assisted Peter Rundel at the Konzerthausorchester Berlin with a piece by Michael Wertmüller during the Märzmusik Festival.
His musical roots lie with the piano, he also plays double bass and bass guitar and has years of experience as a singer in numerous choirs. Besides his studies at the conservatory Stijn completed a Bachelor Media and Cultural studies at the University of Amsterdam and studied for a year at the Amsterdam Theaterschool and Academy for Performing arts.