- Created: 29 October 2014
Ronald Snijders is renowned flautist who was born in Paramaribo, Suriname, in 1951. Snijders began playing the flute at an early age, inspired by his father, a professional musician. He later settled in the Netherlands, where, after a period studying civil engineering, he too became a musician. Since then, the self-taught Snijders has recorded over twenty albums, which range in style from North American jazz and fusion to new African Caribbean jazz. His compositions often combine the Afro rhythms of his country Suriname with American, African and other musical styles. He is considered the inventor of kawina-jazz, a form of Afro-jazz distinct to Suriname. In 1973, Snijders was the recipient of the Press prize at the prestigious NOS Jazz concours in Laren, which he won for a flute solo. In 2001, he was awarded the ‘Ridder in de orde van Oranje Nassau’ from the Netherlands and ‘Ridder in de orde van de Gele Ster’ from Suriname in recognition of his contribution to bringing different musical cultures together. More recently he won the Press and Public prizes at the 2006 Al Klaipeda jazz festival in Lithuania.
Jazz journalist Rudy Koopmans has called Snijders “the most brilliant flute player in the field of improvised music in the Netherlands’’ while jazz magazine Jazz Nu considers him “the most swinging flautist in the Netherlands.” Snijders has traveled extensively as a soloist and with his Ronald Snijders Extended Band.
Snijders has also composed music for films, television, radio, ballets, classical music ensembles, and symphony orchestras. In addition to flute playing, composing and producing he is also an author and ethnomusicologist. His books include The Man with the Piccolo, a biography of his father Eddie Snijders; Sranantongo Fu Strati, a lexicon of slang and Creole Surinam words and expressions, and a collection of sheet music of the traditional melodies of kaseko, the most popular music of Suriname. His latest album, Ronald Snijders in Africa, was recorded with South African musicians, including the saxophonist McCoy Mrubata, and a DVD will be released soon. Ronald Snijders forms part of the Winternachten contingent.