Rogier van Otterloo
Rogier van Otterloo was born in Bilthoven, Holland on 11 December 1941, the son of the famous Dutch conductor Willem van Otterloo.
During his formative years Rogier studied music theory, composition, flute and piano at the Amsterdam Academy of Music. While still involved in his studies, he played piano for the Cabaret Lurelei and participated in their 1966 production "Relderelderel".
Throughout the 1960s these activities kept him very busy, helping to establish him as Holland's premier arranger. He composed and arranged for some of the biggest names in Dutch popular music such as singers Rita Reys and Jasperina de Jong (even contributing some of his own songs to her 1968 'Wij Zijn de Jongeren' album for the Phillips label). He also worked with respected jazz musicians like bassist Ruud Jacobs (who would produce many of Rogier's albums in the 1970s), guitarist Wim Overgaauw and the pianist Pim Jacobs, Ruud's older brother, who was married to Rita Reys.
Rogier started to contribute arrangements to the library of the Metropole Orchestra, Holland's leading light music orchestra that has accompanied many famous international artists including Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Burt Bacharach and Shirley Bassey to name but a few. Over the next twelve years he made numerous appearances as guest conductor of the Metropole, leading to his appointment in 1980 as its chief conductor and musical director.
He was responsible for all the arrangements and conducting on Thijs van Leer's series of 'Introspection' albums, the first of which was his solo debut. These classically oriented albums were designed as showcases for Thijs' virtuosi flute technique and his compositions. The first 'Introspection' album includes Rogier's beautiful orchestration of Gabriel Faure's 'Pavane' with a subtle, undulatory rhythm introduced halfway through, adding momentum to the piece.
Rogier's 'Rondo' is a lovely piece of classical music in the style of Mozart. He also wrote the albums' title track - again, a beautiful, classically inspired piece that takes an unexpected turn at the end, resolving itself with some very modern, expanded harmonies. Thijs' compositions 'Focus 1' and 'Focus 2' also benefit greatly from Rogier's deft, sensitive arrangements. The second Introspection album (released three years later in 1975), as with the first, includes a number of pieces by Bach as well as the pure, wordless vocals of Letty de Jong. Highlights from this album include his gorgeous orchestration of Thijs' original composition 'Mild Wild Rose' and Rogier's own 'Rondo 2' and 'Introspection 2', as well as J.S Bach's 'Siciliano' and 'Sheep May Safely Graze'. All three 'Introspection' albums sold in large quantities, the sales of the first album earning Thijs' a gold disc.
After a prolonged battle with cancer, Rogier van Otterloo died on January 29, 1988 at the age of only 46. His untimely passing created a huge gap in the Dutch music scene and the world was robbed of a master musician.