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The Violinist

I still remember it quite vividly: I was probably around three years old. My father and his friends were playing quartet music. Using two wooden sticks as my instrument and bow I imitated their movements and was so engrossed in my “playing” that I didn’t notice the musicians had stopped to watch me in my childlike abandon. Suddenly I noticed I was fiddling away alone without a sound and my cheeks must have flushed with embarrassment at being caught just “playacting”.


Obviously, however, I had by then developed an inner conception of music; the sound of the violin had taken hold of me and has never let go!


In my hometown Kapfenberg I received quite a good musical background at the local music school. In addition to violin I also took piano and learned harmony, musical form, and counterpoint. There were youth orchestras and choirs, chamber ensembles and, perhaps most importantly, plenty of opportunities to perform: celebrations, church ceremonies, and concerts. It still warms my heart to think back on those performances. They were always borne by a sense of “working together to make the audience happy through music.”


Decades have passed since then, and I have learned that the music world is also subject to market laws. I have experienced the pressures of competition, the stress of concert tours and trips, the happiness and hard work of teaching. I have collaborated with orchestras and many musicians, contrasted and combined my violin playing with other art forms – dance, literature, and painting. Like everyone else, I too have learned from teachers, but also from fellow musicians, ensemble partners, students, and audiences, and above all from composers, who through their own works have helped me understand the compositions of the old masters in new ways.


What I still enjoy as much as ever about playing the violin?

The diverse and wonderful messages of our violin repertoire, conveying these to music lovers, and in this way infusing them with life energy, sometimes through the encouraging, healing, consoling, occasionally also rousing, at times even shrill sound of our instruments; sounds that reflect the listeners’ happiness as well as their suffering.

And I deeply enjoy experiencing all this with other musicians.