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Home > Orchestra : Orchestra


Das Philharmonische Tagebuch

Fri, 03. October 2008



Six Philharmonic Members Enter Retirement

Prof. Volker Altmann

Volker Altmann was born on May 5, 1943 in Jena, the son of the Austrian musician, Eduard Altmann. He received his first lessons on the horn at the age of twelve and began study of the instrument in 1958 at the Vienna Music Academy under Gottfried von Freiberg, principal horn for the Vienna Philharmonic, and music theory with Alfred Uhl. In 1960/61, Altmann was employed at the Raimund Theater, and in 1962 he received an engagement with the Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.  Upon completion of his degree in horn in 1964, he auditioned and was accepted into the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, becoming a member of the Vienna Philharmonic on September 1, 1966.  He consequently served as a committee member without portfolio on the orchestra's administrative committee (1972-73, 1976-78) and was also a player's representative for the Vienna State Opera orchestra, where he made considerable contribution in working out the new collective agreement.

Volker Altmann, who was awarded the professional title of Professor in 1997, also distinguished himself as a chamber musician, teacher, and trailblazer for contemporary music. He performed with the Wind Ensemble of the Vienna Philharmonic as well as the "Wiener Virtuosen", was a co-founder of the Vienna Wind Soloists, took part in the Vienna Chamber Ensemble series led by Gerhart Hetzel, and was an associate of Gidon Kremer at his Chamber Music Festival in Lockenhaus. Beginning in 1982, Volker Altmann had a horn class at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna, and from 1988 he taught wind chamber music at the Vienna Music College, while also appearing at other institutions as lecturer. Besides his intensive work with the ensemble "die reihe", he was, together with Otto M. Zykan, H.K. Gruber, Kurt Schwertsik and his brother, Roland Altmann, co-founder of the "MOB art & tonART Ensemble."


Prof. Werner Hink

Werner Hink, who was born on May 18, 1943, received his first violin lessons at the age of six at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna from Luise Bilek. After the conclusion of his Matura at the Radetzky Realschule he continued his musical study in 1962 with Franz Samohyl at what was then called the Vienna Music Academy. In that same year, he passed his examinations for violin performance with distinction and on January 1, 1964, became a
first violinist with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, and was granted membership in the Vienna Philharmonic on November 1, 1965. In 1967 he advanced to the position of section leader of the first violins and in 1974 to the position of concertmaster. In this capacity, he performed many of the great orchestral solos, such as Richard Strauss' "Der Bürger als Edelmann" (with Wolfgang Sawallisch, 1986), "Ein Heldenleben" (Daniel Barenboim, 1997; Simon Rattle, 2003) and "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (Georges Prêtre, 1995; Lorin Maazel, 1999), Haydn's Symphonia Concertante in B-Major, Hob. I: 105 (Sylvain Cambreling, 1992; Zubin Mehta, 2003), as well as numerous other works for violin by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Along with Erich Binder, he also played the concerto for two violins by Johann Sebastian Bach, BWV 1043 (Zubin Mehta, 1976).

In addition to his prolific work with the orchestra, Werner Hink, who holds the title of Professor and the Honorary Cross of Science and the Arts, was also awarded the Large Medal of the Republic of Austria on the stage of the Vienna State Opera following a performance of Tschaikovsky's "Pique Dame" on June 30, 2008. Werner Hink has also maintained an eminently successful career in chamber music. In 1964 he founded the "Vienna String Quartet", touring around the world with this ensemble, which became well known as an outstanding representative of the Viennese musical style, and making numerous recordings. He has celebrated international success with the "Vienna Octet", as well as with the piano trio he founded with Jaminca Stancul and Fritz Dolezal. Since1974, Werner Hink has been a member of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle and since 1982 he has taught a violin class at the Vienna Conservatory.


Prof. Günter Högner

With the retirement of Günter Högner, yet another well known soloist of the Vienna Philharmonic ends his orchestral career. Born on July 16, 1943 in Vienna, Günter Högner received his first horn instruction at the Conservatory of the City of Vienna in 1956 with Franz Koch, switching after five years to the Music Academy, where he continued his work under Leoplold Kainz, a long-time member of the Vienna Philharmonic. During this time, he gained professional experience in various ensembles (1961 in Bad Hall; 1962/64 in Baden bei Wien; and 1963/64 in the orchestra of the Raimondtheater), before being engaged as first horn with the Orchestra of the Vienna Volksoper in 1965. On September 1, 1967, he joined the Vienna State Opera Orchestra in the position of third horn, advancing to principal horn in 1971. In this same year he also was granted membership in the Vienna Philharmonic, where he went on to perform all the great orchestral solos, and also such works as the First Brandenburg Concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach (Otto Klemperer, 1968); the Serenade Opus 7 by Richard Strauss (Claudio Abbado, 1973) and Mozart's Symphonia Concertante in E-flat Major, KV 297b (Karl Böhm, 1976; Theodor Guschlbauer, 1981; Adam Fischer, 1984). In addition, he recorded the four horn concertos of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart under the baton of Karl Böhm.

Günter Högner enjoyed similar successes in the field of chamber music. Performing with the "Vienna Octet," as well as with the "Ensemble Vienna-Berlin", he made numerous concert tours throughout Europe and further abroad and appeared at many important international festivals. In addition he recorded prominent works in the chamber music repertoire for horn (Ludwig van Beethoven's Septet, Franz Schubert's Octet, Johannes Brahms' Horn Trio, etc.). In 1981, he received a teaching position at the College of Music Graz/ Oberschützen Campus and became Professor there in 1982. He also contributed as a pedagogue to various international workshops such as the International Orchestral Institute in Attergau, the Pacific Music Festival Sapporo, and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.


Prof. Gerhard Kaufmann

Gerhard Kaufmann, the son of the pianist Herbert Kaufman, was born on May 11, 1943 in Oberschützen. In 1944, his family moved to Feldkirchen (Carinthia) and it was there that he received his first piano lessons from his father in 1948. At the age of 15 he studied cello at the music school in Villach, and following his Matura in 1961, he enrolled in the Vienna Music Academy in concert cello with Wilfried Böttcher and also musical education, in which discipline he received his master's degree in 1965. In 1966, he continued his cello study with our long-time Philharmonic solo cellist, Richard Krotschak, and in 1968 was a prize winner at the Pablo Casals Competition in Budapest. On September 1, 1969, after a successful audition, he began his employment as cellist with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. 

Gerhard Kaufmann became a member of the Vienna Philharmonic on March 1, 1973, where he subsequently filled various important administrative functions, thereby making a noteworthy contribution to the Philharmonic's self-government. From 1987-2007 he occupied the position of ticket manager (and as such had personal contact with many of the subscribers to the Sunday concert series); and from 1998-2007 he also served in the capacity of tour manager. Gerhard Kaufmann, who also holds the professional title of professor and the Honorary Medal of Service to the Republic if Austria, was a founder of the internationally successful Vienna String Soloists in 1974, of which he was a member until 1990.


Friedrich Pfeifer

As was the case with many subsequent members of the Vienna Philharmonic, Friedrich Pfeiffer, born on February 25, 1958 in Hainburg/Donau, began his musical career at an institution rich in Viennese tradition - the Vienna Boys Choir – being a member of that organization from 1968 until 1972. During this time he was featured as soloist in a recording conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt of the cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach and performed the role of the "Erster Knabe" in "The Magic Flute" by Mozart at both the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and at the Vienna State Opera.  After leaving the Vienna Boys Choir, he commenced the study of horn with Josef Veleba, a member of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1940 until 1977.

By the age of 18, Friedrich Pfeiffer had been engaged as principal horn with the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra, and two years later he was awarded the same position with the Vienna Symphony. On September 1, 1981 he joined the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, serving in the positions of first, third and fourth horn.  He was awarded membership in the Vienna Philharmonic on January 1, 1985, with whom he performed Mozart's Symphonia Concertante in E-flat Major, KV 297b, under the baton of Riccardo Muti on February 1, 1987.  He has been a member of the Hofmusikkapelle since 1987, thus returning once again to the place of his first musical engagement. Following the completion of a pertinent course of study with Karl Österreicher, Friedrich Pfeiffer turned his attention to conducting and has worked in this capacity with orchestras in Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Japan. (www.friedrichpfeiffer.at)


Prof. Peter Wächter

Peter Wächter, who was born on October 8, 1941, was first motivated to study violin by his grandfather an, at 8 years of age, received instruction from Erich Graff, a member of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1936 until 1972. After achieving his Matura in 1959, he continued his study of violin at the Music Academy with Franz Samohyl, the renowned teacher of several generations of violinists and violists, including 30 members of the Vienna Philharmonic. Peter Wächter's first position was in 1961 with the Kurorchester Bad Gastein, and in the 1961/62 season he played in the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra. He also performed with the orchestra of the Burgtheater before beginning his employment in the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on January 1, 1964. He was named section leader of the second violins only 9 months later, following a successful audition for that position. On November 1, 1965, he received membership in the Vienna Philharmonic, in whose ranks he has served since 1981 as section leader of the second violin section.

Peter Wächter, who holds the title of Professor and has been honoured during his lengthy career with many awards, also studied chamber music with Wilfried Böttcher during his academic years, thus laying the foundation for an exceptionally successful chamber music career. He was a member of the Philharmonia Quintet and a founding member of the Küchl Quartet, with which he performed more than 330 concerts between the years 1973 and 1980. He was also a member and leader of the Vienna String Soloists and the Philharmonia Trio. In addition, Peter Wächter has been a member of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle for 41 years, and was Philharmonic ticket manager from 1969 – 1975, and committee member without portfolio in the years 1975/76 and 1991/92.



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