Heinz Holliger

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Heinz Holliger (2008)

Heinz Robert Holliger (born May 21, 1939 in Langenthal ) is a Swiss oboist , composer and conductor .

Education and career

After taking oboe lessons with Emile Cassagnaud in Bern at an early age , he presented his first compositions ( chamber music , songs , incidental music) at the age of fourteen in 1953 . In 1956 he began his studies at the Bern Conservatory with Emile Cassagnaud (oboe) and Sándor Veress (composition). After passing the Matura in Burgdorf two years later , he acquired a teaching diploma at the conservatory in Bern.

In 1958 and 1959 he studied piano, first with Sava Savoff at the Bern Conservatory, then with Yvonne Lefébure at the Conservatoire de Paris and took private oboe lessons with Pierre Pierlot . Between 1961 and 1963 he also took composition lessons with Pierre Boulez .

In 1959 he began his professional career as solo oboist with the Basler Orchester-Gesellschaft (he held the position until 1963). In 1961 she made her first recordings and made guest appearances worldwide as a solo oboist. In 1965 he was offered a professorship at the State University of Music in Freiburg im Breisgau. Since 1975 he has been a permanent guest conductor with the Basler Kammerorchester, founded by Paul Sacher , and was appointed chief conductor in 1986 as Sacher's successor, shortly before the orchestra was dissolved. From 1998 to 2001 he was the conductor of the Orchester de Chambre de Lausanne . As composer-in-residence he was with the Orchester de la Suisse Romande (1993/1994), the Lucerne Festival (1998) and the Summer Music Days Hitzacker (2002).

In 1987 he founded the Basler Musikforum together with Jürg Wyttenbach and Rudolf Kelterborn . Together with the Hungarian pianist András Schiff , he initiated the "Ittinger Whitsun Concerts".

Heinz Holliger became known worldwide as an oboist; numerous works were written for him. He was also successful as a composer. Holliger composed works for the stage, orchestral, solo and chamber music. In his rich vocal work, the setting of texts by Swiss authors plays a special role. a. also the opera Snow White ( Robert Walser , 1997/1998). The Three Night Pieces for piano (1961), which refer to poems by Georg Trakl , were published with other pieces under the overall title Elis . At the invitation of Walter Fink , Holliger was the 17th composer in the annual composer portrait of the Rheingau Music Festival in 2007 .

Many of his students are also renowned oboists, such as B. Klaus Becker (winner of the ARD music competition 1981; professor at the Hanover University of Music, Theater and Media ), Christian Hommel (member of Ensemble Modern , professor at the University of the Arts Bremen ), Thomas Indermühle , Diethelm Jonas (professor at the Musikhochschule Lübeck ), Omar Zoboli (professor at the Musikhochschule Basel; well-known interpreter of the works of Antonio Pasculli ), Emanuel Abbühl , Hans Elhorst, Jochen Müller-Brincken and Rosemary Yiameos ( principal oboist of the St. Gallen Symphony Orchestra ).

Holliger is u. a. Corresponding member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts and member of the Berlin Academy of the Arts .


Heinz Holliger was born the son of a doctor. He speaks of a kind of bio-realism , which he connects with his father's profession and breathing technique when playing the oboe. He describes himself as a professional breather . The death of his mother led to a new phase in his work as a composer, which began with the work Pneuma and was created as a requiem. Heinz Holliger was married to the harpist Ursula Holliger (1937-2014) until her death on January 21, 2014 . Heinz Holliger is the brother of the theater director Erich Holliger (1936–2010).

Awards and honors (selection)


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Christian Wildhagen: "I am a professional breather". Heinz Holliger on his eightieth birthday. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . 20th May 2019.
  2. Ursula Holliger died. In: Berner Zeitung . January 24, 2014, accessed February 17, 2015 .
  3. Zurich Festival Prize for Heinz Holliger ( Memento from September 27, 2007 in the Internet Archive ). Schott Music, April 11, 2007.
  4. Swiss Grand Prix Music 2015 goes to Heinz Holliger. www.news.admin.ch, September 11, 2015, accessed on September 15, 2015 .
  5. ^ Newly Elected Fellows. American Academy of Arts and Sciences , accessed February 25, 2020 .
  6. Michael Merschmeier: World premiere of the year. In: Theatermagazin. October 2018, accessed October 30, 2018 .