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Home > Orchestra : Orchestra


Das Philharmonische Tagebuch

Interna 2011

Fri, 10. June 2011



Death of Professor Gottfried Martin

Prof. Gottfried Martin

A little over one year ago, on March 1, 2010, Professor Gottfried Martin, a violist in the Vienna Philharmonic, went into retirement. Only a few months later he was diagnosed with a severe illness which ultimately took his life on May 17, 2011, following months of patient suffering.

Gottfried Martin was born on November 26, 1944, in Vienna as the son of a horn player in the Vienna Symphony. Beginning in 1958, he studied violin with Franz Samohyl and Günter Pichler and viola with Karl Stierhof at the Music Academy. During this time as a student, he appeared in numerous Viennese theatres as a violin soloist, appearing on stage with such notables as Hans Moser, Paul Hörbiger, Heinz Conrads and Helmut Qualtinger. At the age of 19, he was accepted into the Junior Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera and received an engagement in 1967 with the Vienna Volksoper. Following an additional successful audition, he joined the viola section of the Vienna State Opera as of September 1, 1970, receiving membership in the Vienna Philharmonic in January of 1974, after having completed his diploma with distinction in viola performance.

Gottfried Martin's life was characterized by his wide variety of special interests. He was closely involved with modern music and was in contact with numerous composers (Egon Wellesz, for example, dedicated his last work to him). In addition to this, he was interested in graphic arts and sculpture and beginning in 1980, studied at the Institute for Electro-Acoustical Music at the Vienna College of Music. He produced numerous exhibits of his own works and at the "Photoshop Award 2003", the European competition for computer graphics, he won the third prize in the category "Professionals".  Characteristic of his pronounced concern for social issues, he donated the prize money to an institution specializing in aid for disabled children and youth.

Beginning in 1985, Gottfried Martin increasingly concentrated his efforts in the administrative work within our organization, serving in the capacities of tour director, protocol officer, and for nearly 20 years in the players' committee of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, as well as assistant chairman of the music section of the labor union for arts, media and freelance.  He carried out all of these functions with enthusiasm, intensity and diligence. His important contribution to the signing of the new collective agreement of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra, which Director Dominique Meyer praised in a very moving manner at the dress rehearsal for the concert to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Gustav Mahler on May 18, 2011, was based on Professor Martin's immense experience. It was a brilliant forward-looking agreement, which, taking place in the context of a life which has now ended, represents his crowning achievement in the interest of our association.



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