He has won many awards, the 'Silver Laurel of the Concertgebouw' and the 'Netherlands Music Prize' among the most noteworthy. The latter enabled him to go abroad, studying in France with Daniël Deffayet and Jean-Marie Londeix, in Japan with Ryo Noda as well as working with composers such as Luciano Berio and Karlheinz Stockhausen.
Since his 1982 solo debut in Rome, performing the 'Concertino da Camera' by Jacques Ibert, he has played more than two hundred concerts with orchestras around the world, including the most important works from the saxophone repertoire in addition to new concerti written especially for him, such as the 'Tallahatchie Concerto' by Jacob TV. Recently Bornkamp added three new works to his already large repertoire: Saxophone Concerti by Joey Roukens and Carlos Michans and the 'Trois Danses' (orig. for oboe) by Frank Martin, the last of which he performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra at the XVI World Saxophone Congress in St. Andrews. This fits perfectly into Bornkamp’s ambassadorship for new music: throughout his whole career he has collaborated with composers, such as Martijn Padding, Christian Lauba, Peter van Onna, Otto Ketting, Louis Andriessen, Jacob ter Veldhuis, Simon Burgers, Wijnand van Klaveren, Perry Goldstein and many others.
In addition to his solo career, chamber music is one of Arno Bornkamp’s great loves. For over thirtyfive years Bornkamp has been a member the Aurelia Saxophone Quartet and his duo with pianist Ivo Janssen exists almost as long. Additionally, Bornkamp has taken part in a unique ensemble: Clazz Ensemble, made up of musicians from both the jazz and classical worlds.
Arno Bornkamp's many activities (including concerts, festivals, master classes and lectures) have taken him to many countries in Europe, the USA, Japan and South America.
The many CDs he has made on various labels since 1990 have garnered national and international praise. On some of these recordings, Bornkamp has taken a certain period of saxophone history and put it under the microscope, on others he highlights a specific composer. Of the latter variety is his 2009 CD, released on the Basta label: 'Buku of Horn: Arno B. plays JacobTV', a musical portrait of Dutch composer Jacob ter Veldhuis.
Likewise, his most recent CD is also a composer’s portrait, released in 2012 on the Ottavo-label: ‘Frank Martin and the Saxophone’. 2014 has seen the release of his new CDs with Ivo Janssen featuring music by Claude Debussy and Maurice Ravel.
Most recently Bornkamp has developed a new project entitled ‘Bach in Beeld’ (Bach in Images). With the ‘accompaniment’ of images from video artist James Murray he plays (on three different saxophones) arrangements of three solo works by Bach: the 2nd Suite for Cello, the Flute Partita and the 2nd Violin Partita.
Being one of the important personalities of saxophone in the world, Bornkamp has taken the initiative to create SAX14, a huge, multidisciplinary saxophone festival in Amsterdam in November 2014, celebrating the 200th birthday of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.
Arno Bornkamp is a renowned teacher, leading an international saxophone class at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. In the summer he teaches at various master classes.