Pianist Jozef De Beenhouwer was the first to record the complete piano music of Clara Schumann, and he has also specialized in other neglected composers of the 19th century. To a degree rare among performing pianists, he is also noted as a musicologist.
De Beenhouwer was born in Brasschaat, Belgium, on March 26, 1948. He took up the piano at five, studying with his grandfather. He attended the Catholic University of Leuven, studying pharmacy but also taking piano lessons, and upon graduating in 1970, he switched to piano. De Beenhouwer earned a master's degree at the Queen Elisabeth College of Music in Waterloo, Belgium, in 1973 and went on to the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp. He continued his studies later with David Kimball. De Beenhouwer has been a versatile performer whose career has encompassed solo recitals, chamber music (he is a founder of the Robert Schumann Trio), concerto performances, and song and solo sonata accompaniment. He was an official accompanist for violinists and pianists at Belgium's Queen Elisabeth Music Competition from 1986 to 1996. De Beenhouwer has toured Europe, South Korea, and the U.S. as a recitalist. In the U.S., he performed with violinist Janet Packer, mastering music by American composers including Irving Fine, Amy Beach, and Andrew Imbrie. He has also championed the music of Flemish Belgian composers.
In 1990, De Beenhouwer made the first of his recordings devoted to Clara Schumann; in 2001, his recordings of her complete piano works were issued by the label CPO. From there, De Beenhouwer moved to the Phaedra label, where he has been quite active as a senior citizen. In 2008, he played keyboard with Alfred Lessing and Harald Mohs on a recording of music for the rare arpeggione. In 2018, he issued a Robert Schumann album featuring the Arabeske, Fantasiestücke, Op. 12, Humoreske, and Geistervariationen. The following year, he backed soprano Miriam Alexandra and tenor Peter Gijsbertsen on a recording for the MDG label of Clara Schumann's complete songs. Among his awards is the Robert Schumann Prize bestowed by the city of Zwickau, Germany, for service to that composer's music.
De Beenhouwer has been active as a musicologist, editing works by various Belgian and German composers, and he is also the author of a monograph on the artist Henry Luyten.