Jo Vincent and Henriëtte Bosmans
life and music
Johanna Maria Vincent
(Amsterdam 6-3-1898 – Monaco 28-11-1989)
Jo Vincent was a famous concert singer and singing teacher during the 20th century.
Jo Vincent was educated by her father, who was a piano teacher and organist, and the singing teacher Wilhelmina de Veer-de Lange. In 1919, Jo Vincent obtained her teaching degree from the Nederlandsche Toonkunstenaars-Vereeniging. She went on giving lessons and working with
In 1920, Jo Vincent made her debut in Assendelft with a soprano solo from Die Schöpfung by Haydn. More performances followed shortly, and the same year she was heard with the the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Cornelis Dopper. Until 1942, Jo Vincent sang a lot with the Concertgebouw Orchestra under the direction of Willem Mengelberg.
Photo: Farewell concert Jo Vincent, Diligentia (Den Haag NL), 27 december 1953
When Germany occupied The Netherlands and established the Kultuurkamer on April 1, 1942, Jo Vincent stopped her public appearances. Jewish artists were not allowed to register, and many of the non-Jewish artists refused to be a member as to support. Jo Vincent then gave illegal house concerts to earn a living, also known as “zwarte avonden or verboden avonden” and she also performed privately in her villa ‘Tetterode’ in Overveen.
“It was prohibited to have more than twenty people at home. A vaguely formulated and often ignored regulation…” ( J. Vincent, Zingend door het leven, Amsterdam 1955). Henriëtte Bosmans, one of the Dutch composers that were persecuted, managed to escape through a backyard, during one of Jo Vincent’s “verboden avonden” while other guests were heavily fined.
On 9 and 10 June 1945 Jo Vincent performed in ‘Vrije Klanken’, the first major concert that was held in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw after the liberation. “Daar komen de Canadezen” and “Gebed”, composed by Henriëtte Bosmans, and dedicated to Jo Vincent were included in the program. Both liberation songs were often performed in the post-war years by Jo Vincent together with Bosmans on the piano.
Bosmans dedicated another beautiful work to Jo Vincent, Lead kindly light. The first performance took place in Den Haag in 1945 with Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult.
Lead, kindly light – Performed by soprano Elizaveta Agrafenina and pianist Satomi Chihara.
Jo Vincent was not only known in The Netherlands, she also performed abroad. She sang the role of ‘Marguérite’ in Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust, under the baton of the French conductor Pierre Monteux in Paris, in Mahler’s Fourth Symphony under Mengelberg’s direction in Vienna, and she was a soloist at the Promenade Concerts (the ‘Proms’), conducted by Sir Henry Wood in Queen’s Hall, London.
In 1949 she sang with the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Eduard van Beinum together with the world-famous contralto Kathleen Ferrier at the premiere of Benjamin Britten’s Spring symphony.
Jo Vincent ended her career in 1953, with a glorious farewell tour. She devoted herself to hobbies such as hiking and gardening. In 1971, after her husband’s death, she moved to Cap d’Ail near Monte Carlo. Here she died in a hospital, aged 91.