Author: Myrna Tumelero

Bildschirmfoto 2016-02-10 um 13.59.05
Henri Pensis (first conductor of the RTL orchestra). Source: WEBER, Loll: Henri Pensis ein Dirgent aus Luxemburg 1900 – 1958.

Henri Pensis died from a heart disease in 1958. So music was my first love and it will be my last perfectly summarizes the life of the RTL orchestra conductor. Even if he was aware that conducting the RTL orchestra was not good for his health, he was not willing to give up on it.

Some may say that without him the RTL orchestra would never have existed. He founded it in 1933 with just  a very few musicians and learned them to play very difficult pieces. He even dedicated some money of his own that it could play with great foreign musicians.

During the Second World War, he helped jewish refugee musicians and made them play among the orchestra, that’s certainly one of the reasons why he had to leave Luxembourg for the United States. Some rumors say that prince Felix asked Henri to come back but others say that he just waited to come back to Luxembourg to rebuild the RTL orchestra again in 1946. This wasn’t an very easy task at all, but thanks to Henri Pensis patience and love for music the new RTL orchestra became a great one again and had great success all around the world.



Some words on Henri Pensis by the author of his biography Loll WEBER

Source: University of Luxembourg


Unfortunately there are no more existing files on the sound of the orchestra from 1933 – 1939 but you can have a taste of The RTL orchestra playing a musical master piece arranged by Henri Pensis

Source: CNA (The RTL orchestra playing MUMM SEIS, Ouverture from Dicks 1969 directed by Pierre Cao and arranged by Henri Pensis). Images used in the video: RTL Group Archives and WEBER, Loll: Ein Dirigent aus Luxemburg.



WEBER, Loll: Das Luxemburger Rundfunkorchester. Eine dokumentarische Studie 1933-1940 / 1946 – 1958. Luxemburg 1993.

WEBER, Loll: Henri Pensis ein Dirigent aus Luxemburg 1900 – 1958. Luxemburg 1998.


ASCHMAN, Pol: En souvenir de Henri Pensis. In: Revue 14(1958). p. 6 – 15, 20.

JAANS, Jean: Letzeburger Leit. Henri Pensis. In: Revue 52(1951).

JOURDAIN, Guy: Zur Erinnerung an Henri Pensis (3.11.1900 – 1.6.1958). In: Luxemburger Wort 131(1978). p. 4.

SCHMITZ, Aloyse-J.: Henri Pensis. 10 Jahre danach. In: Le Phare 1968.

SCHUMACHER, Henri: Meister und Missgunst. Deutsche und Belgier waren einst federführend im Luxemburger Musikleben. In: Lëtzebuerger Journal: Politik, Finanzen an Gesellschaft. 59(2006). p. 8f.

THILL, Norbert: Licht und Schatten eines Dirigentenlebens. Erinnerung an Henri Pensis zu seinem 100. Geburtstag. In: Die Warte 52(2000). p. 1f.

THILL, Norbert: Erinnerung an Henri Pensis. Ein großer Luxemburger. In: Fanfare grand-ducale de Clausen. 1851- 1976. 125e anniversaire. Luxembourg 1976. p. 96 – 101.

WEBER, Loll: Hommage à un eminent musicien: Henri Pensis. À l’occasion du  25e anniversaire de sa mort. In: Nos cahiers: Lëtzebuerger Zaïtschrëft fir Kultur 4(1983). S. 5 – 13.

WEBER, Loll: Weitsichtiges und aufopferungsvolles Wirken: zum 30. Todestag von Henri Pensis. In: Luxemburger Wort 141(1988).