Jurjen Hempel studied conduc­ting with David Porcelijn and Kenneth Mont­gome­ry at the Utrecht Conserva­tory. Already during his studies there he was invited to assist Edo de Waart, Hans Vonk and David Robert­son.

In 1989 Jurjen Hempel made his debut with the Radio Philhar­mo­nic Orches­tra Holland and in 1990 with the Netherlands Radio Symphony Orchestra.

After receiving his Masters Degree in Orchestral Conducting in 1990, Jurjen Hempel be­­came professor in conducting at the Conservatory of Utrecht. He continued his studies with Peter Eötvös in Hungary and was invited to be part of the first European International Master­class in Hilversum with Hiroyuki Iwaki. On invitation of Seiji Ozawa, he studied at the Tan­gle­wood Conducting Class where he worked with Bernard Haitink and Lorin Maazel.

An important recognition of his already distinguished career at that time was a third prize on the Sibelius Conductors Competition in May 1996. In the finale he conducted an impressive interpretation of the Seventh Symphony by Jean Sibelius. Immediately invitations came from the various Finnish orchestras, a.o. the Finnish Radio Sympho­ny Orchestra and the Helsin­ki Philhar­monic, followed by reinvitations in the past seasons.

In 1996-1997 Jurjen Hempel was appointed Assistant Conductor to Valery Gergiev with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In May 1997 he made his highly acclaimed debut with that orchestra in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. A few months earlier he made his debut with the The Hague Residentie Orchestra and received equal critical acclaim, as well as reinvitations with both orchestras.

His growing reputation as a con­ductor of contem­porary music leads him to work on a regular base in front of ensembles as the Asko En­semble, the Nieuw Ensemble, the Nether­lands Wind Ensemble, Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva, the Schönberg Ensemble, and Orkest de Vol­har­ding, of which ensemble he is principal conductor. With this ensemble he toured extensively in Germany, France, Russia and the United States (a.o. resident in Lincoln Center in New York).

Also in the opera field Hempel became more exposed. Important activities in this area were the performance of Richard Strauss' Salomé in a production of Willy Decker for the Gergiev Festival and Nationale Reis Opera.

As a result of this he was invited to conduct Salomé as well with the Kirov Opera in St. Petersburg.

After the performance he was immediately invited to conduct a residency of the Kirov Opera at the New Israeli Opera Tel Aviv in June 1998. In the spring of 2003 he will conduct Shadowtime by Brian Ferneyhough at the Munich Biennale and in the autumn of 2003 at the Strasbourg Festival Musica.

In the 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 seasons he made his debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège and the Orquestra Nacional do Porto, as well as with the Orchestre del Teatro Comunale di Bologna in the Angelica Festival and the Basel Symphony Orchestra.

Further engagements in the past seasons included concerts with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta, Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Bochum Sinfoniker, the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and the Nether­lands Wind Ensemble.

With the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra Hempel maintains a special relationship of yearly reinvitations and with them he performed highly acclaimed programmes with a.o. Symphony no. 4 by Ives, Schumann’s First, and Messiaen’s Des canyons aux Etoiles.

Jurjen Hempel has made CD-recordings for Decca/Argo, Composer's Voice, Elektra Nonesuch and Point Music.