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Kolja Blacher (Violin)

Born: Berlin, Germany

The German violinist, Kolja Blacher, was accepted for study with Dorothy Delay at the Juilliard School of Music in New York as a 15-year-old. He subsequently completed his studies with Sándor Végh in Salzburg before embarking on a remarkable career as a solo violinist.

Kolja Blacher appears as a soloist with important orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. He collaborates with leading conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Vladimir Jurowski, Mariss Jansons, Dmitri Kitaenko, Kent Nagano, Jonathan Nott and Kirill Petrenko.

After the very positive response to his playing and conducting with the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, the Hong Kong Philharmonic (L.v. Beethoven’s Violin Concerto), the Kioi Sinfonietta in Tokyo (Johannes Brahms Violin Concerto) and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Kolja Blacher has discovered his passion for performing both as a conductor and soloist and will appear more frequently in the forthcoming concert seasons in this twofold capacity, including performances in 2008-2009 with the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, and the Hamburger Symphoniker, at the Zermatt Festival (Sharoun Ensemble), in Auckland (New Zealand) and in Budapest.

In April of 2007 his recording of sonatas by Dmitri Shostakovich and Mieczyslaw Weinberg (with partner Jasha Nemtsov at the piano) on the Hänssler label was recognized with the German Record Critics’ Award (Quarterly Critics' Choice). In May of 2006 his recording of the Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg concertos with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Claudio Abbado likewise won the German Record Critics’ Award (Quarterly Critics' Choice) as well as the Diapason d’Or. The German magazine Fono Forum wrote: “This live recording once again testifies to his standing as a world-class violin soloist. His rendering of Berg's score is characterized by clearness of melodic line, romantic yet continuously nuanced tonal production. The ‘tranquillo’ close of the work is captivating. Stravinsky’s violin concerto glows with concise and powerful exuberance.”

Kolja Blacher’s earlier recordings, including the violin concerto by Boris Blacher, Paul Hindemith’s Kammermusik Nr. 4 as well as the violin sonatas by Robert Schumann, Béla Bartók and Holliger (with Bruno Canino at the piano), have been recognized with many awards. During the 2008-2009 season a new CD with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Claudio Abbado will be released, this time with the Weill and P. Hindemith concertos.

One high point of 2008-2009 is his appearance with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in London and in Brussels. Other engagements will take him to Auckland, Sydney,Venice and for the first time to Brasil. In January 2009 he plays with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra the Arnold Schoenberg violin concerto at the Suntory Hall. In addition to this he plays several chamber music concerts in Japan. Chamber music is also a focal point of this season. With Clemens Hagen and Kirill Gerstein he plays trio concertos throughout Europa, e.g. in Madrid, Vienna, Salzburg and Bremen. In December 2008 he celebrates with his collegues David Geringas, Eduard Brunner and Vassily Lobanov the anniversary of Olivier Messiaen in Hamburg, Turin and Vevey. Vassily Lobanov will also be his partner in numerous recitals.

Kolja Blacher was a professor for violin and chamber music at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg since October 1999. As from spring 2009 he lert his position in Hamburg to become a professor at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler in Berlin.

Kolja Blacher plays the “Tritton” Stradivari violin from 1730, on generous loan to him from Ms. Kimiko Powers.

Source: Kolja Blacher Website (2008-2009)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2010)

Kolja Blacher: Short Biography | Recordings of Instrumental Works

Links to other Sites

Kolja Blacher (Official Website)
Kolja Blacher, violin (la Verdi)

Intercultural Times: An interview with Kolja Blacher

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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