April 18, 2018

Death of Professor Günter Högner

© Terry Linke

On April 16, 2018, our long-time orchestra member Prof. Günter Högner passed away at the age of 74. As a former principal horn player, Günter Högner not only made major contributions to the orchestra's style but also played an exemplary role in the shaping and cultivation of the unique Viennese sound.

Günter Högner was born in Vienna on July 16, 1943, and began his career on the horn as a student at the Vienna Conservatory under Franz Koch in 1956. Five years later, he transferred to the Music Academy in order to perfect his abilities under long-time Philharmonic member Prof. Leopold Kainz. In 1965, Högner joined the Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper as first horn and came to the Vienna State Opera Orchestra in 1967, where he performed as principal horn beginning in 1971.

In addition to his leading position within the orchestra, Günter Högner was also involved with teaching and extensive chamber music activity. In 1981, he became an instructor at the Oberschützen campus of the College of Music in Graz and one year later received the position of full professor.

Günter Högner also became well known as a member of the ensemble Wien-Berlin as well as an important component of the Wiener Octet. He was also the leader of his own Högner Quartet. His recording of the four horn concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with the Vienna Philharmonic under the baton of Karl Böhm can be seen as the highpoint of his artistic career.

Also worthy of note are the efforts made by Günter Högner on behalf of the Viennese horn. Through his work with the Yamaha Corporation, which was in a position to deploy up-to-date technical resources for instrumental measurement and innovation, major contributions were made toward the preservation and improvement of this special instrument which is so highly esteemed by our orchestra. We owe Günter Högner much gratitude for making this prized component of our orchestral sound fit for the future.

With Günter Högner, we lose a colleague who was in many ways a quiet person but could also, when the situation demanded, make good use of his assured self-confidence.

The Vienna Philharmonic will long honor the memory of this important representative of our concept of style as well as the man and the musician, Günter Högner.