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Home > Orchestra : Orchestra


Das Philharmonische Tagebuch

Interna 2012

Tue, 14. February 2012



Two Deaths

Shortly after the beginning of the year, the Vienna Philharmonic mourned the deaths of two of its members within only a few hours of one another:  Günther Voglmayr, on the evening of Jannuary 11, 2012, followed by Professor Herbert Linke on the morning thereafter.

Günter Voglmayr
Photo: Nancy Horowitz

Günter Voglmayr was born in Ried/Innkreis on February 21, 1968, and obtained his first private flute instruction at the age of eight. As of 1978, he continued his training with Helmut Trawöger at the music school in Grieskirchen and four year later he was accepted into the class of Wolfgang Schulz at the Vienna College of Music. Günter Vogelmayr, who was the prize winner in 1981 and 1985 at the Austrian national competition "Jugend musiziert" in Leoben as well as at Eurovision's "International EBU Competition for Young Musicians" in Copenhagen, performed as first flutist with the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in 1987 under the batons of Claudio Abbado and Franz Welser-Möst and in that same year was engaged in the Stage Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Following a successful audition he became a flutist with the Vienna State Opera Orchestra on September 1, 1993, and became a member of the Vienna Philharmonic on December 1, 1996, while in the meantime having completed his studies, augmented by courses with Aurèle Nicolet, with a diploma in 1994.

During his entire artistic career, Günter Voglmayr worked intensively as a soloist and chamber musician. He made numerous appearances with the Vienna and Zurich Chamber Orchestras, the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, the Stockholm Sinfonietta, the Haydn Trio Vienna, the Vienna Ring Ensemble and the Weinmeister Trio. He also worked with the pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Alexander Lonquich and Stefan Mendl, and with the soprano Christiane Oelze. All of this is documented in numerous CD, radio and television recordings made at home and abroad (Europe, America, Japan and Korea). In 1997 he founded the "Klangburg Festival Rappottenstien" and remained its artistic director until 2004.

In 2003 he was diagnosed with a serious illness which he successfully warded off with determination and impressive optimism, being supported in an exemplary manner by his family. Following his recovery, he resumed his artistic endeavours at the highest level until 2010, when the illness returned and to which, after a long and brave struggle, and finally with noble acquiescence, he succumbed at the age of 43.


Prof. Herbert Linke
Photo: Terry Linke

On September 1, 2011, Professor Herbert Linke, after serving in our orchestra for 48 years, entered retirement. On January 12, 2012 - fourteen hours after Günter Voglmayr - he died as a result of a serious illness which had been diagnosed at the end of August of last year. 

Herbert Linke, who was born on March 31, 1945 in Pressbaum, was inspired to learn an instrument by his grandfather, the director of the Orchestra Association of Pressbaum, and at the age of seven years received his first violin lessons. From 1959-1964, he studied in the class of the legendary Franz Samohyl (1912-1999), our former first violist and the teacher of some thirty later Philharmonic musicians. In 1963, Herbert Linke received a contract with the Junior Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera; in 1965, he moved for a few months to be a first violinist at the Vienna Volksoper; and on January 1, 1966, following a successful audition, he became a member of the first violin section of the Vienna State Opera. The enlargement of the opera orchestra which had taken place during Herbert von Karajan's tenure as opera director was at this time not reflected in the membership of the association of the Philharmonic. Only in 1972, after years of lively discussion, did the plenum raise the prevailing limit on membership from 120 to 140, allowing Herbert Linke, along with seventeen other musicians of the opera orchestra to become full members of the Vienna Philharmonic on March 1, 1973.

Herbert Linke, who before his retirement was the last remaining active member of those in the era under Herbert von Karajan's directorship, displayed during his 48 years of service as an orchestra musician a special dedication to music: "Non dimenticherò mai il suo grande entusiasmo e la sua gioia di far music ache per egli ha dato alla Filharmonica die Vienna e a tutto il mondo musicale" ("I will never forget his great enthusiasm and the joy in music making that he gave to the Philharmonic and the entire music world."), wrote Riccardo Muti. In addition, Herbert Linke consistently displayed a deep understanding of interpersonal relationships and emotional difficulties. With his candor and readiness to assist young members, he made a great contribution to mutual understanding within our orchestra.

The Vienna Philharmonic's mourning of Günter Voglmayr and Professor Herbert Linke is inseparable from our gratitude for everything which both of these members gave to our orchestra. A tragic destiny was afforded them: Günter Voglmayr was taken at 43 years of age and Herbert Linke died only a few months after his retirement. However the word "tragic" is insufficient and only expresses our human perspective. Truly, both of these men provided light in their own personal way; to all those around them and to our association. In this context, the final words from the "German Requiem" by Johannes Brahms, bring comforting assurance: "Der Geist spricht, daß sie ruhen von ihrer Arbeit, denn ihre Werke folgen ihnen nach ("Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them)."

- Dr. Clemens Hellsberg



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