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Home > Orchestra : Orchestra


Das Philharmonische Tagebuch

Interna 2010

Thu, 21. October 2010



Two Members Enter Retirement

Prof. Gabriel Madas

In August 1976, Gabriel Madas and his wife Jana made a decision which fundamentally changed the course of their lives. The two citizens of the CSSR left their country and applied for political asylum in Switzerland. In order to understand the magnitude of this formidable decision, one must consider the illustrious career to which Gabriel Madas had already attained in his own country by this time. Born on March 24, 1945 in Levoča (Slovakia), he attended the Music Conservatory in Košice, where he studied trombone with František Polaško, graduating in 1965. Following this he enrolled as a trombone major at the College of Music in Prague in the class of Miloslav Hejda, completing his degree there four years later.

By this time his career as a professional musician had already begun, having been principal trombonist with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague since January 1, 1968. It was not only in the orchestra that he proved his talent. In 1973, he won the Bronze Medal at the music competition in Geneva; and in 1973 and 1974 he won the first prize at the National Competition in Kraslice. In 1974 he won one of the most prominent international competitions, that of the "Prager Frühling". It is therefore not surprising that shortly after his emigration he quickly received another engagement. On September 1, 1977, he became the first trombonist of the Bern Symphony Orchestra, only to leave this post after one season for a similar position with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra beginning on September 1, 1978. In 1981, he officially joined the Association of the Vienna Philharmonic and in that same year began teaching at the Vienna Conservatory, a position which he maintained until September 1, 2010. In addition to his artistic services on behalf of our orchestra, Professor Gabriel Madas has bequeathed us another special inheritance - his son, Oliver, who since 2006 has been a member of our percussion section.


Prof. Peter Schmidl

Peter Schmidl, was born into a "Philharmonic Family" on January 10, 1942 in Olomouc. His grandfather, Alois, had been engaged in our orchestra by the Opera Director Wilhelm Jahn and First Conductor Hans Richter and was a clarinettist from 1892 - 1914. His father, Viktor, was employed between the years 1921 and 1936, also as a clarinettist at the State Opera and in the Vienna Philharmonic. It was thus only natural that Peter Schmidl, who received his Matura with honours (at which time he performed Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto!), continued his musical study in 1959 at the Vienna Music Academy with Rudolf Jettel, a Philharmonic principal clarinettist at that time. In 1964, after completing his diploma exam with distinction, he continued his studies at the Max Reinhardt Seminar in acting and stage direction, but dropped this course of study after successfully auditioning to become a member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra beginning on May 1, 1965. He became a member of the Association of the Vienna Philharmonic on September 1, 1968.

In the decades that followed, Peter Schmidl distinguished himself as one of the outstanding personalities on the musical scene. The variety of his activities can only be outlined here in brief. Besides his orchestral career, he has been a well-known international soloist, receiving solo engagements with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Lower Austrian Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, and the New Philharmonic Tokyo, among many others, thus performing under the baton of such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Karl Böhm, Christoph von Dohnýani, Riccardo Muti and André Previn. As a chamber musician he performed with the Vienna Octet and the Vienna Wind Soloists in major musical centers worldwide. As a pedagogue, Schmidl, who has been a teacher since 1967 and who was awarded the title of Professor in 1985, has influenced many generations of students, among which include four members of our orchestra today. Finally, Peter Schmidl, who has received many outstanding awards, is an exceptional manager. For many years he has worked with the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo and from 2001 through 2005 he was the business manager of our orchestra. In the year 2006, Professor Schmidl was named doyen of the Vienna State Opera. With Peter Schmidl, a towering figure of our orchestra enters retirement after 45 years of active service.



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