Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Nikolaus Harnoncourt (* 6. December 1929 in Berlin; actually Johannes Nicolaus count de la Fontaine and D' Harnoncourt Unverzagt) is a Austrian conductor, performance practical man and a music writer.

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its nut/mother Ladislaja countess of Meran, Freiin of Brandhoven, was the great-granddaughter of the steirischen Ore duke Johann. His father Eberhard de la Fontaine count d'Harnoncourt Unverzagt had completed a technique study as a former naval officer, in order to work in Berlin as a civil engineer. From first marriage it brought two children also. Two years after Nikolaus its brother Philipp Harnoncourt was born. The familyresettled after Graz , where the father completed still another doctorate study and got then a place in the federal state government.

During its people school time Nikolaus learned cello and piano. Also the other family members were musical: the father composed René in the private one, its brother studied after the warMusic at the salt citizen Mozarteum. The last war year spent the family in Grundlsee, where it got instruction from Paul Grümmer (Cellist of the shrub quartet). After it its vocational career had been unclear long time, it decided 1947 to become musicians and pulled in the autumn 1948to the study to Vienna. Its cello teacher became now Emanuel Brabec. Only by the meeting with Eduard Melkus and by instruction in performance practice with professor Josef Mertin became Harnoncourt on the old person music attentively. Likewise he learned his later wife, the violinist Alice Hoffelner here,and the seamists Jürg shank flax know, with which he co-operated later over long years in the Concentus musicus.

In the autumn 1947 Harnoncourt occurred as Cellist with the Viennese Symphonie core , who were led at that time by harsh ore of Karajan. It kept this firm employment until 1969.

1953Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Alice Hoffelner married. From the marriage the children Elizabeth, Philipp, Eberhard († 1990) and Franz followed.

Concentus musicus

1953 was likewise created a music circle, around “the aliveness of the baroque documented by the screen end art on the music to transfer”.In the center Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt were located, and one met for rehearsing in the dwelling of the family Harnoncourt. The musical range of the group extended of 18. Century to back to the Pope yard in Avignon. A means for finding an understanding of the music was collecting and playing suitable old instruments and the relearning of the play techniques, which were lost in the change of style of the centuries. Further the rhetorical understanding of the “music formed a key to the conception of the old persons music as sound speech”, which stated Harnoncourt later also in theoretical writings.

At firstit was for the ensemble still no being certain goal of accomplishing concerts. All members had firm musician places, mostly with the Viennese Symphonie core. 1958 took place under the name “Concentus Musicus Vienna " the first public appearance, which formed the prelude for a concert row in the palace Schwarzenberg.The Concentus musicus consists of up to 12 members, to whom as required further musicians come. The ensemble with an admission of the Brandenburgi concerts Johann Sebastian of brook obtained the international break-through.

1967 played Harnoncourt in the film chronicle the Anna Magdalena brook of Jean Marie Straub the prince Leopold of notion Köthen. The Concentus musicus participated in the film as a yard ensemble.

Already nearly of beginning the Concentus spread musicus its music also on clay/tone carriers. 1971 it began its exclusive disk contract with Telefunken (late Teldec), which only 2003 was dissolvedand by means of that hundreds of bringing in were published, among them the total bringing of all brook CAN acts in co-operation with Gustav Leonhardt between 1971 and 1990.

training activity

1972 to 1992 informed Nikolaus Harnoncourt at the salt citizen Mozarteum performance practice and historical instrument customer. Numerous prominent musicians went through hereits school, under it the singer Barbara Bonney and the Oboist David realm mountain.

Harnoncourt as an orchestra conductor

after had for a long time rejected Harnoncourt to see itself as conductors and whom Concentus always leads musicus in the case of visible occupations from the cello, it began into that70's to act as a conductor other to orchestras. At the beginning of this activity an invitation stood to rehearse 1972 at the citizens of Milan Scala Monteverdis Ulisse. Apart from few musicians for the Continuo excluding musicians and singers of the opera orchestra were used.

The first large classical symphony orchestra with modernInstruments, with which he co-operated, is the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam. In the annual change the Johannes and matte house passion of brook were specified from 1975 to 1989. Co-operation expanded immediately since Mozart and until today into the late romance: Franz thrust ore, JohannBunch son, Brahms, Dvořák, Bruckner, Alban mountain.

First Viennese the tradition orchestra, which invited Harnoncourt as a conductor, was 1983 the Viennese Symphoniker, at which he had worked in former times as Cellist. 1997 offered the orchestra to it the place of the principal conductor,which it rejected however.

With the Viennese Philharmonics, whose honour member is he since 2005, Harnoncourt met for the first time 1984 and concentrated with them is particularly enough time at the salt citizens Mozart week, then also in Vienna as well as with appearances in Europe and the USA. Inthe years 2001 and 2003 he was invited by them to direct the New Year concert. Several much praised and successful common disk photographs appeared in the meantime (e.g. Mozart Violinkonzerte with Gidon Kremer, Aida of Verdi etc.).

Harnoncourt leads the citizens of Berlin Philharmonics for the 1990er years regularlyin the citizens of Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall.

Harnoncourt as an opera conductor

1975 began Orfeo (December 1975) with Harnoncourt at the desk a Monteverdi cycle for the opera house Zurich with the director Jean Pierre Ponnelle , in the framework its, Poppea (January 1977), Ulisse (November 1977) was produced. In June 1979still another szenische version of the respected Madrigalbuches followed. The cycle enjoys this very day a legendary call. In the connection the duo continued with a Mozart cycle:Lucio Silla (February 1981), Mitridate (May 1983), the kidnapping from the Serail (February 1985), Così fan tutte (February 1986), The magic flute (November 1986), Don Giovanni (November 1987), Le nozze di Figaro (February 1989; after Ponnelles death in its production for the salt citizens of festivals 1976 and/or. the Viennese state opera 1977).

After Ponnelles death it continued its work on the inhabitant of zurich opera house with changing directors: Jürgen Flimm (Fidelio 1992), Ruth mountain building (free contactor 1993), Helmut Lohner (La bark Hélène 1994). With Jürgen Flimm he also often co-operates since 1990 in other places (Amsterdam, Vienna, Graz, Salzburg).

As an opera conductor Harnoncourt worked the early 1970er for years regularlyfixed weeks - last in May the 2005 Mozarts Lucio Silla in the theatre at that Vienna (direction Claus Guth ) -, two times the way led the Viennese the opera Frankfurt to the desk in (1978 Giulio Cesare in Egitto of George Friedrich trade and 1980 Castoret pole lux of Jean Philippe Rameau; in each case direction refuge Zankl, scenery Erich Wonder). Between 1987 and 1991 Harnoncourt directed four new productions of Mozart - operas at the Viennese state opera: 1987 Idomeneo (direction Johannes Schaaf, scenery David falling thing, costumes Tobias Hoheisel), 1988 the magic flute (direction Otto give, scenery and costumes Yannis Kokkos), 1989 the kidnapping from the Serail (direction Ursel and Karl seriousness gentleman man, scenery and costumes Karl seriousness gentleman man) as well as in the same year still Così fan tutte (direction Schaaf, scenery Hans Schavernoch, Costumes truck Haas). The end of the management of Claus's Helmut Drese meant also that Harnoncourt stopped its work on the Viennese state opera. Dreses successors had inquired it only still for a Idomeneo - Dirigat. Because Harnoncourt did not see the dramaturgischen context lacking of further appearances,he withdrew himself.


since 1985 are organized in Graz Nikolaus Harnoncourt dedicated classical period festivals, which styriarte. The festivals became since then the main platform for the Concentus musicus. To the initial concerts, Oratoriumsaufführungen and konzertanten operas are later also szenische opera performancescome. With Haydn Harnoncourt began styriarte 1987 co-operation of many years with the Chamber Orchestra OF Europe, which over a much-considered total admission of the Beethoven with - symphonies across Schumann and Mendelssohn to Bartók led. 2005 directed one of public and criticism inspire taken up Carmen of Georges Bizet, for which he compiled a his own, the intentions of the composer more strongly considering version (direction Andrea Breth, scenery Annette Murschetz). 2006 are, so the financing succeed, Harnoncourt with the Mozarts Idomeneo for the first time an opera not to only direct, but also produce, whereby itsSon Philipp - which has theatre experience as a light designer - him thereby to help intends (scenery Rolf sliding mountain, costumes Marianne sliding mountain).

Harnoncourt with the salt citizen festivals

for the early 1990er years was Harnoncourt almost any year with the salt citizen festivals bothas opera such as concert conductor present. Its first opera directed there it 1995 (Mozart Le nozze di Figaro, Regie Luc Bondy). 2006 it becomes the new production of the Mozarts Le nozze di Figaro (direction Claus Guth) as well as the resumption of La clemenza di Tito to direct.However Harnoncourt announced in December 2005 in an interview with the Austrian magazine news to reduce its work agecaused with the festivals and because of its activity at the theatre at that Vienna to summer orchestral concerts and to lead no more opera performances.

Harnoncourtat the theatre at that Vienna

at the theatre at that Vienna directed Harnoncourt in March 2006 a resumption of the Lucio Silla - production of the Viennese fixed weeks. In April 2006 it led there a szenische realization of the Mozart's debt of the first requirement (direction Philipp Harnoncourt), inFramework of the festival eastrang out took place.

From 2007 on Harnoncourt is intended as a conductor of Monteverdi - operas in the theatre at that Vienna: In the November of the yearly it is to lead IL ritorno d'Ulisse in patria (direction Martin Kušej).

vowel music

in the area thatVowel music began 1978 a connection of many years with the Arnold beautiful mountain choir under Erwin Ortner. This choir is not only Harnoncourts first choice with projects with the Concentus musicus, but steps also with concerts with other orchestras in feature. Into the Kantateneinspielungen of brook Harnoncourt setfurther boy choirs like the Viennese singer boys , with the larger vowel works he preferred the professional choir.

honours and honors

Harnoncourt is member in the Royal Swedish Academy OF music and honour doctor of the University of Edinburgh.

1992 honour member of the society of the music friends inTo Vienna

1994 it received polar the music Prize, the Grammy received it 2001, 2002 it the seriousness of Siemens music price was awarded. 2005 it was distinguished for its life's work with the Kyoto price, one of the highest honors for science and culture. Harnoncourt took the price at the beginning of November2005 in Kyoto personally against.



  • Turkovic, Milan/Mertl, Monika: The strangest Viennese of the world. Nikolaus Harnoncourt and its Concentus Musicus. Residence publishing house 2003
  • Mertl, Monika: Nikolaus Harnoncourt - of thinking the heart
  • Fürstauer, Johanna (Hg): “Mozart dialogues - thoughts onPresence of the music of Nikolaus Harnoncourt ". Residence publishing house 2005

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| | * Literature of and over Nikolaus Harnoncourt in the catalog of the DDB



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