Three New Members of the Vienna Philharmonic
Isabelle Ballot was born on February 7, 1977 in Angers, and received her first violin instruction at the early age of three years. After winning the first prize for violin at the Conservatoire Nationale de Région of Angers and Nantes and an additional award at the competition in the city of Epernay, she enrolled in 1992 at the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure de Musique in Paris. While there she was awarded a first prize and received her diploma in music theory and chamber music in 1996. She augmented her studies with a course in violin pedagogy and received her degree in this discipline with the title of Professor in 2001.
While still a student, Isabelle Ballot acquired substantial orchestral experience. From 1994 through 1996 she served as concertmistress in the orchestra of the conducting class taught by Sergiù Celibidache in Paris, and between 1996 and 2000 she was concertmistress and soloist in the "String Ensemble F.A.E." A high point of her extensive endeavours as a soloist was the performance of the Violin Concerto of Johannes Brahms in the Herkules-Saal in Munich. After having taken part in many master classes, among them the "Internationale Musikforum Trenta" where she attended courses with Volkard Steude and Peter Götzel, she played an audition for the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, and was consequently accepted into the first violin section as of September 1, 2005. Her numerous chamber music activities led to the founding of the string quartet "Alma Rosé" in 2008.
*Andreas Großbauer was born on December 2, 1974 in Graz, and began his first violin study in 1979 at the Music School in Gleisdorf, Styria. In 1986 he enrolled in the College of Music in Graz in the class of Christos Polyzoides. The first part of his official study, which he completed with honours in 1995, was followed with four years of study under the tutelage of Alfred Staar at the campus at Oberschützen. He rounded out his violin studies by enrolling in various master classes with Thomas Brandis, Hubert Kroisamer and Volkhard Steude, while at the same time collecting experience in the Symphony Orchestra in Graz, and as concertmaster of the International Orchestra Institute in Attergau. Andreas Großbauer, who completed his high school education at the Musikgymnasium in Graz in 1994, served as a substitute in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and with the Vienna Philharmonic beginning in 1998. In 2001 he became a first violinist with the Vienna Symphony. Following another successful audition, he moved to the first violin section of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra in 2005.
Andreas Großbauer, who during his student years had also dedicated himself intensively to chamber music by enrolling in numerous courses under the auspices of ensembles such as the Alban Berg Quartet, the Prague String Quartet and the Bartók Quartet, became a member of the Philharmonia Schrammeln in Wien in 2001. Even before becoming an official member of the Vienna Philharmonic he took up responsibilities in the orchestra's administration, becoming chairman of the Philharmonic Ball in August 2008.
*Sebastian Mayr was born on November 8, 1970 in Vienna and grew up in Scheibbs (Lower Austria). In 1978 he received his first horn instruction in the local music school and beginning in 1982 studied with Roland Horvath, a former Philharmonic fourth horn player who retired in 2005. In 1989, Sebastian Mayr graduated with a high school degree from the BORG Scheibbs and enrolled in what was at that time known as the College of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, and was accepted into the class of Roland Berger, who was principal horn player of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1955 through 1993. Beginning in 1992 he substituted regularly at the Vienna State Opera and with the Vienna Philharmonic, and also worked with various Philharmonic chamber music groups. In 1996, he received an engagement as a horn player with the Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, and on September 1, 2005, he became a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra.
During his study at the College of Music, Sebastian Mayr won numerous competitions, including a first prize, as well as a special prize, at the "Jugend Musiziert" in 1993, and a year later he won the competition "Musica Juventutis". In addition, he made many solo appearances, such as with the "Virtuosi di Praga" or in the Vienna Konzerthaus, where he performed the First Horn Concerto of Richard Strauss.