Marnix Willem Steffen

The surprising life of Dutch conductor Marnix Willem Steffen took him abroad for twenty years, living in Spain and South America. Connected with embassies and authorities he was responsible for innovating concerts and the realization of an important cultural exchange between Europe and South America.

In 2013 he received the High Honorific Distinction of Culture of Peru and in 2017 he was decorated by the Andean Community for his commitment and spiritual involvement.

After his debut in 2005 with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada, his performances brought him from big concert halls to little churches and from the Andes to the Amazon. Because of his 10 years living in South America, it´s vibrant music became part of his life and repertoire. Vice versa, he presented Beethoven and Brahms cycles with various orchestras there. In Amsterdam he met Bernard Haitink and assisted to rehearsals with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

With his concerts he also created climate awareness, connectivity and inclusion; A beautiful example of how to use a classic orchestra connecting people and ideas for modern issues.

In 2020 he came back to The Netherlands because of the pandemic, and made his debut in 2022 with PHION, Orchestra of Gelderland and Overijssel. The Dutch magazine “Luister” published a long article about his life and musical experiences abroad.

He completed his Master of Music in Rotterdam and studied conducting at the Academia Chigiana in Sienna. He moved to Spain where his international conducting career began after participating in the Conducting Competition of Cadaqués, where he obtained special recommendations from Sir Neville Marriner. His official debut was a year later with the Orquesta Ciudad de Granada. Subsequently he was invited by other orchestras as well, like the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Leipziger Symphonieorchester and the Orchestra Filarmónica di Roma.

South America
He arrived to Lima to become music director of the Orquesta Ciudad de Los Reyes and guest conductor of the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional de Peru. Since then he has been a well-seen guest with many other South American orchestras, like the Orquesta Sinfónica de Cuenca, Orquesta Sinfónica de Cusco, Orquesta Sinfónica de La Serena and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Antofagasta. He became music director of the National Conservatory and brought the Orquesta Sinfónica de San Borja to new heights, with the complete Beethoven and Brahms cycles. A remarkable moment was when he went into the jungle with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Loja, to present Brahms there for the first time.

Connectivity and durability
Collaborating with Radio Filarmonía he presented concerts in less fortunate areas outside of Lima. With UNHCR he was committed to the integration of Venezuelan refugees, and many musicians became part of his Orquesta Sinfónica de San Borja. With this orchestra he also created climate awareness with the concerts for “The Hour of the Planet”. A beautiful example of how to use a classic orchestra connecting people and ideas for modern issues. Furthermore he founded Nueva Lima Clásica, a new chamber orchestra, and was able to obtain the kind support from companies like Porsche and DP World. Always connected with the diplomatic world he was asked to give a special course at the Diplomatic Academy for the future ambassadors for many years. In 2016 he engaged in a special voyage to Ayacucho, in search of its musical inheritance. A photobook about this adventure has been published by Peruvian photographer Shanny Alvarez, and is called “A Trip in B minor”.

Cross over
In the modern music world he has performed with Louis van Dijk, Toots Thielemans, Peter Herbolzheimer, Omara Portuonda, Pete Best and Tarja.

Frequently asked as a guest speaker, he developed talks and workshops about leadership, traveling & adapting, and music experience.

La música es su universo,

Europa sus raíces,

Sudamérica sus alas.