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Prof. Reinhart Öhlberger
In the early morning hours of September 20, 2014, Professor Alfred Prinz—a long-time principal clarinetist of the Vienna Philharmonic—died at the age of 85. Alfred Prinz, who was born in Vienna on June 4, 1930, began his study of the clarinet at the age of nine with Leopold Wlach, a Philharmonic instructor. Later he studied piano with Bruno Seidlhofer, composition with Alfred Uhl,
as well as conducting under Hans Swarovsky. At the young age of fifteen he was engaged at the Vienna Volksoper as a clarinetist where he was employed for 10 years until joining the orchestra of the newly re-opened Vienna State Opera on September 1, 1955, where he remained as principal clarinetist until 1983, having been admitted zo the association of the the Vienna Philharmonic in September 1956. He went into retirement as of September 1995.
Concealed within the numbers of this brief resumé lies a richly productive musical life, comprised not only of expertise on his instrument within the orchestra or in his chamber music endeavors, but also by his activities as a teacher and composer. His recording of Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in 1973 with Karl Böhm and the Vienna Philharmonic is only one outstanding example of his various musical achievements. Whereas the the time period of half a century of professional work is in itself exceptional, it is the quality and not only the quantity of his work which stand out. Prinz's teaching engagements began in 1972 at the Vienna College of Music (today known as the University of Music and Performing Arts) and he additionally held a guest professorship at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington between 1996 and 1999. Having given numerous master classes at the Salzburg Mozarteum as well as in Music Colleges in Finland, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States, Prinz's pedagogical imprint is noteworthy.
Alfred Prinz's compositions include many symphonies, pieces for piano and chamber music, as well as art songs such as the "Five Goethe Songs" composed in 1998 and dedicated to the soprano, Caroline Dowd-Higgins. His second and fourth symphonies were performed in San Francisco under the baton of Josef Krips. Prinz's quintet for winds, "Moments Musicaux—Reminiszenzen eines Musikenthusiasten", from the year 1978 combines various quotes from operatic literature juxtaposed over and against one another to deliver an extravagant mosaic of tonal experiences indicative of the melodies trolling about in the mind of a music enthusiast. In 1971 Prinz was given the "Promotional Prize for Music of the City of Vienna". Worthy of special mention is the "Trauermusik für Hiroshima", scored for three winds and five strings and composed in 1994 in remembrance of the victims of the atomic bombing. His work as a composer was greatly valued by his colleagues and this was acknowledged by the performance of his "Music for Orchestra" (1969) in the Philharmonic Subscription concerts under Horst Stein on April 17 and 18, 1971.
≡ Alfred Prinz: Karikatur von Herbert von Karajan
On October 11, 2014, a Requiem Mass was held for Alfred Prinz in the Vienna Hofburgkapelle. Included in the liturgical celebration were three compositions by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with special significance. Karin Bonelli (Vienna State Opera Orchestra), Dominik Hellsberg, Robert Bauerstatter and the youngest son of our former chairman, Benedict Hellsberg performed the second movement (Adagio) from the Flute Quartet in D major, KV 285; the clarinetists Daniel Ottensamer, Matthias Schorn, Gregor Hinterreiter (Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera) and Johann Hindler played the Adagio for Clarinet and Bassetthorns KV 580a; and lastly Hellsberg, Sr., and sons together with Robert Bauerstatter performed the second movement from the "Dissonanzen Quartet" KV465 "Andante catabile".
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