Aafje Heynis

Dutch contralto Aafje Heynis was born in Krommenie on 2 May 1924, and began singing at the age of four. Her teachers included Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius and Roy Henderson. She first established a reputation as an oratorio singer, then attracted much attention for her performance of the Brahms Alto Rhapsody with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Eduard van Beinum.

She sang in many performances of Bach's St Matthew Passion, and recorded music by Bach, Brahms, Handel and Mendelssohn for Philips. She was particularly drawn to Mahler, and made a legendary recording of the Symphony No 2 with Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Many compared her deep voice with that of Kathleen Ferrier.

Aafje Heynis died in Huizen on 16 December 2015, aged ninety-one.