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Günter Pichler (Conductor)
 
       

<Biography>
Günter Pichler began his studies at the University of Music in Vienna in 1955. He was appointed Leader of the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra when he was 18, and when he was 21 Herbert von Karajan engaged him as Leader of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1969 he was awarded the "Mozart Interpretation Prize".
From 1963 to 2009 Günter Pichler has been Professor at the University of Music and performing Arts in Vienna, and from 1993 to 2012 as Guest Professor in Cologne. In 2007 he was appointed head of the Department for Chamber Music at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofia in Madrid. Besides he holds master classes in many prestigious summer academies.
Many of his students won international prizes, are concertmasters in major orchestras, professors at academies and universities of music, and perform as soloists and chamber music ensembles in international concert halls. The most important and successful European chamber music ensembles, e.g. the quartets Artemis, Belcea, Casals, Faur, the Trio con brio, the Atos, Eggner, Morgenstern Trio etc. were his students. In this season pricewinners were the following Quartets: Amaryllis, Cavaleri, Noga, Piatti, Schumann, Voce.
In 1970 Günter Pichler founded the Alban Berg Quartett and had led this famous quartet ever since. The Alban Berg Quartett regularly performed in the music metropolises of the world and is honorary member of the Vienna Konzerthaus Society as well as Associate Artists of the Royal Festival Hall London. It was rewarded more than thirty renowned disc prizes.
Complementing his work in the quartet Günter Pichler embarked upon a career as a conductor. Since then he conducted many European orchestras in concerts and on tours (e.g. Vienna, Lausanne, Stuttgart and Israel Chamber Orchestras, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Orchestra della Toscana Firenze, I Pomeriggi Milano, Hallé Orchestra Manchester, Orchestre National de Lille, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, etc.). In Japan he conducted all the major orchestras like Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai, Sapporo Philharmonic and NHK Orchestra Tokyo. He is currently Artistic Advisor of the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.

<TheConductor>

Over his 40 years as leader of the illustrious Alban Berg Quartet Guenter Pichler appeared at all the world's major music centers. For more than 20 of those years he was also active as a conductor and, since the Alban Berg Quartet disbanded in 2008, he has intensified his conducting activity with orchestras around the world while remaining committed to his teaching posts at conservatories in Vienna, Cologne and Madrid. His conducting engagements have included the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Wiener Kammerorchester, Hallé Orchestra, Ensemble Orchestral de Paris, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Israel Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra della Toscana, Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Real Filharmonia de Galicia, Orchestre National de Lille, I Pomeriggi di Milano, Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Ljubljana Symphony Orchestra and a number of Japanese Orchestras, including the Tokyo,Osaka and Sendai Philharmonic, NHK Orchestra and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa, of which he is now Artistic Advisor, having been its first guest conductor from 2001 to 2006.
In collaborating with players to realise the composer's intentions and provide a fulfilling experience for the audience, Pichler draws on his own time as an orchestral musician at the beginning of his career. At the age of just 18 he was leader of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra; shortly afterwards, on the invitation of Herbert von Karajan, he became leader of the Vienna Philharmonic, going on to perform under the baton of such figures as Knappertsbusch, Klemperer, Kleiber and Bernstein.
Now, as a conductor, Guenter Pichler encourages interaction and trust between orchestral players, creating an ensemble of inviduals who listen to each other with sensitivity, a sense of personal responsibility and, as a consequence, pleasure. The full dynamism of his interpretations becomes apparent during rehearsals and he has frequently received return invitations to orchestras before the first concert.
The reactions of the critics are equally positive. "Pichler is not only a world-class chamber musician and violinist, but also an orchestral trainer and a conductor of true stature," stated Vienna's Die Presse, while the Sueddeutsche Zeitung observed that he "is also able to exercise his extraordinary skills as a chamber musician from the conductor's podium". In the UK, the Guardian praised him as: "precise and stylish of beat; he instantly eased the Hallé strings into best form . Clearly the Hallé enjoyed making music with such a good-humoured artist and his stature as a great string player in his own right showed through his conducting." In Japan, the respected Asahi Shimbun declared that: "intensity, the most detailed articulation, perfect tempos and an excellent sense for mounting excitement were essential to this involving performance of the NHK Orchestra." Guenter Pichler's repertoire as a conductor extends from the Classical and Romantic periods through the 20th century to contemporary music, such as Luciano Berio's Notturno, which he premiered at the Lucerne Festival.

<The Teacher>
When my career as concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic came to an end, I began holding classes at the Academy (today University) of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. At 23 years old, I was the youngest teacher since Joseph Boehm, the founder of the Viennese School of violin playing. I was professor at the University from 1963-2009, with many of my students winning international prizes. Many have also become concertmasters of important orchestras, professors at music academies or universities or have made their careers as soloists and chamber musicians.
In 1993, my colleagues from the Alban Berg Quartet and I started to hold chamber music classes at the Cologne University of Music, as successors to the Amadeus Quartet. Our students included some of the best young European chamber music ensembles, such as the Artemis Quartet, the Belcea Quartet, the Casals Quartet, the Fauré Quartet, the Trio con Brio, the ATOS Trio, the Morgenstern Trio etc.
After the Alban Berg Quartet's final concerts in 2008, I became head of the string department at theInstituto International de Musica de Camara at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia de Madrid. Since 2008, young quartets from Europe, the USA, Japan and China have travelled to study at this college. Among them are international prize winners such as the Acies Quartet, the Amaryllis Quartet, the Cavaleri Quartet, the Finzi Quartet, the Piatti Quartet, the Schumann Quartet, the Voce Quartet etc.
In addition to this, I am a visiting professor for master classes at 'ProQuartet' in Paris and at theSchubertiade in Schwarzenberg - Austria, the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival - Germany, theInternational Institute "MISQA" Montreal, and at the Britten Pears School in Aldeburgh, England. Furthermore, I hold lessons at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena, Italy for three weeks every year.


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