Biography (English)


With the fourth studio album Victoria!, GRANDE-DUCHESSE (Frans van Hilten, 1974) positions himself as an eclectic singer/songwriter on piano. Pop and jazz, classical music and dance, rock and chanson melt together into a miraculous, melancholy blend.

In this universe, where Jacques Brel jams with Schubert and Björk dances with The Doors, Frans van Hilten sings his songs about loss and longing, often with a sense of irony. Mostly in Dutch, sometimes in English and occasionally even in French or in Russian.

Frans works together intensively with Rob van Berlo, producer and multi-instrumentalist, who usually accompanies him live on percussion, as well as with other musicians and different artists. Grande-Duchesse can often be heard in small, intimate settings, but does not shy away from Paradiso’s main stage either.

Grande-Duchesse op Leidse Lente Luisteravond (foto Rob van Hilten)
Grande-Duchesse op Leidse Lente Luisteravond 2020 (foto Rob van Hilten)

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Album Victoria! (foto Bianca van der Werf)

That name…

As a female, French title of nobility, ‘Grande-Duchesse’ was supposed to indicate subtlety and sensitivity after the rock bands Black Yoghurt and Palatch Frans used to play in before. Besides, rumor has it that he hopes to lure people who expect a beautiful lady singing in an outrageous gala dress…