Charles de Wolff (1932-2011) studied organ, piano, musical theory and orchestral conducting at the conservatories of Utrecht and Amsterdam. He took his finals as an organist in 1953 (with distinction for virtuosity), was awarded the Prix d'Excellence in 1954, and pursued his studies with Jeanne Demessieux in Paris.
De Wolff has been an untiring advocate of new and experimental music, a role for which he gained first prize in the Gaudeamus International Interpretation Competition for modern music in 1965. In 1988, at a recital in the Grote Kerk in Naarden, he was awarded an honour by the Académie Française for his services to French (organ) music.
Charles de Wolff has given recitals on all the top instruments in Holland as well as performing frequently abroad. He has made many recordings, and in 1968 he received an Edison for a gramophone record featuring Bach's Passacaglia and other works. A remarkable recent CD features works by his teacher Anthon van der Horst, who appointed De Wolff to succeed him as conductor of the Netherlands Bach Society in 1965.
De Wolff continued to conduct annual performances of the Bach passions with the Bach Choir Holland until 1998, as well as conducting the Northern Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 25 years.
Highlights of Charles de Wolff's impressive conducting career were a performance of Mozart's Coronation Mass at the investiture of Queen Beatrix in 1980, and a concert with the Bach Choir Holland in 1989 during an official state visit by the American president George Bush Sr.