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Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Nikolaus Harnoncourt

  • December 6, 1929 Berlin (Germany) - March 5, 2016


Nikolaus Harnoncourt was born in Berlin in 1929 and grew up in Graz, Austria. He studied cello with Paul Grümmer and at the College of Music in Vienna with Emanuel Brabec. From 1952 to 1969 he was a member of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. His principal interest during that time was acquainting himself with the performance practice of music of the Renaissance through to the Classical era and learning the playing technique and sound possibilities of period instruments. To this end, in 1953, Nikolaus Harnoncourt founded the "Concentus Musicus" ensemble, which gave its first public performance in 1957. This was followed shortly afterwards by commercial recordings of repertoire ranging from 1200 to 1800. The central point in this work was the entire cantata output of J.S. Bach, which developed into a recording project spanning almost 20 years, in collaboration with Gustav Leonhardt. Since the 1978/79 season, Nikolaus Harnoncourt has been directing his own Concentus Musicus cycle for the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna.

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