Two New Philharmonic Members
Ödön Rácz was born on October 6, 1981, in Budapest and began his study of the string bass at the age of nine at the Staatsgrundschule. He gave his first public solo performance at the Budapest Music Academy in 1994, and then continued his studies at the Music Conservatory of St. Stephan with Gergely Járdanyi, a former student of Ludwig Streicher. In 2001 he transferred to the University of Music und Performing Arts in Vienna, where he was accepted into the class of long-time Philharmonic principal bassist Alois Posch. Following a successful audition, he became a member of the string bass section in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on September 1, 2004.
Even at a very young age, Ödön Rácz won several prizes and competitions, such as that of Hungarian Television in 1996, the Euro Grand Prix in 2000, and the International Johann Prunner Competition 2002, and culminating in a third prize at the prestigious ARD-Competition in 2003. After the appearance of his first recording in 1997, featuring works by Giovanni Bottesini, Johann Matthias Sperger and Hans Fryba, he recorded the Double Concerto by Bottesini for Hungaroton. In addition, he has made solo appearances with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, the George Enescu Orchestra and the Hungarian Virtuoso Orchestra. Wolfgang Breinschmid, who was born in Vienna on September 10, 1967, began his early training on the recorder with Hans Maria Kneihs, which he completed in 1979/80. He also studied the transverse flute, and was accepted in 1987 into the class of Wolfgang Schulz, at what was at that time the Vienna College of Music and Performing Arts, where he received his diploma with distinction in 1990. By this time, Breinschmid, who had completed his Matura Degree with honors in 1987, already had his first engagement. After having played for two years with the Austrian Young Philharmonic, he attained the position of principal flute with the Orchestra of the Vereinigten Bühnen (Theater an der Wien / Raimundtheater / Ronacher). In 1991, he became a member of the Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera and 14 years later, following another successful audition, he transferred to the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on April 1, 2005.
During the time he was employed with the Stage Orchestra, Wolfgang Breinschmid appeared with numerous orchestras and ensembles such as the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the Camerata Salzburg, the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra, the Ensemble of the 20th Century, the Cappella Andrea Barca, the Vienna Lanner-Ensemble and the Altwiener Octet as soloist and as a chamber musician. In 1996, he was engaged for one month as guest principal flutist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa. In addition to these manifold musical pursuits, Wolfgang Breinschmid was engaged in another course of study. From 1987 until 1991 he pursued Finnish-Hungarian studies at the University of Vienna, and following a successful thesis on "Form and Structure of Finnish Folk Dances" he received a Master of Arts from the University of Music and Performing Arts.