Remembering Nico Brandsen (1960-2024)

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With deep sorrow, we announce the passing of our colleague Nico Brandsen on Wednesday, 10th January 2024. He was a prominent keyboardist and had been teaching for many years in the pop department of the Conservatorium of Amsterdam.

Nico Brandsen (Alkmaar, August 7, 1960) was one of the most versatile keyboardists in the Netherlands, specialising in the Hammond organ. His session work with artists such as Van Dik Hout, Ilse DeLange, Golden Earring, Maarten van Roozendaal, Anouk, Kane and Jan Akkerman put the Hammond organ back on the map in Dutch music. Nico also wrote and produced several albums by Angela Groothuizen. The song "Vinkeveen," co-written with lyricist Jan Beuving, was awarded the Annie M.G. Schmidt Prize in 2012. The NPI proclaimed Nico the best keyboard player in the Netherlands and awarded him with a “Duiveltje”.

Besides session work, Nico was active in his own bands, such as In De Steen, Ro & Paradise Funk, OLaBOLA and De Groep Fosko. In his Drawbar Studio, he provided the music for many TV programmes. He also developed the concept Vintage Future: sixties/seventies rhythm & blues and soul connected with current technological developments. For the band Mell & Vintage Future, which he started in 2015, he founded the label Vintage Future Records with top drummer Ton Dijkman. To translate Mell & Vintage Future's music to the stage, Nico developed a hybrid system with his new Hammond XK-5 and Ableton that allowed him to play Hammond organ, piano, bass and even foot bass on one instrument. "A beast, really a beast," he called the instrument in an interview with NPO Radio 1. According to Hammond Europe, he was the first in the world with this system.

Since 2004, Nico had been a teacher in the pop department, passionately passing on his knowledge and experience to the youngest generation of pop musicians.

We are grateful to Nico for all his contributions to the pop department. His inspiring personality will be greatly missed. We will remember him for his sense of humor, deep dedication, passion, and love for music.

The cremation will take place in a private ceremony. We extend our heartfelt condolences to everyone coping with this profound loss.