The Kennedy Center

Heinrich Schiff


Heinrich Schiff studied with Tobias Kuhne and Andre Navarra, and made his debut as a cellist in Vienna and London in 1971.  Whilst establishing his career as a cellist, Schiff also attended conducting classes with Swarovsky and in 1986 he made his professional conducting debut.  Since then cello performances and conducting have come to play equal roles in his career.
As a cellist, Schiff has performed with many of the leading conductors such as Abbado, Celibidache, Colin Davis, Dohnanyi, Eschenbach, Gielen, Haitink, Harnoncourt, Jansons, Masur, Salonen, Sawallisch, Sinopoli, Tennstedt, Welser-Möst, Daniel Harding. Recent engagement highlights have included opening this year's Salzbug Festival playing with the Vienna Philharmonic and Daniel Barenboim and, last season, performing with the Vienna Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta and with the Bayerischer Rundfunk and Mariss Jansons.  He also played Beethoven and Bach cycles at the Konzerthaus, Vienna.
Heinrich Schiff has also appeared with the Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lyon, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonhalle, Northern Sinfonia, BBC Symphony Orchestra on tour in Germany.
Schiff is a highly respected chamber musician and has appeared regularly with the Alban Berg Quartet and in duo recitals with Till Felner, Oli Mustonen as well as at the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals.  Contemporary music plays an important part in his artistic work and Schiff has collaborated with and commissioned works by major contemporary composers such as Berio, Casken, Henze, Lutoslawski and Penderecki.
In March 2004, Heinrich Schiff was appointed Chief Conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He has previously held conducting positions with the following orchestras: Artistic Director of the Northern Sinfonia 1990-1996, Principal Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic and of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and of the Radio Sinfonie Orchester Stuttgart. He is in demand internationally as a guest conductor with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, BBC Scottish Symphony, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Orchestre de Paris, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Santa Cecilia in Rome, Oslo Philharmonic, Camerata Salzburg, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Halle, and Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Schiff has released a number of recordings conducting the Northern Sinfonia, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie and the Philharmonia with repertoire ranging from Haydn and Beethoven to Schreker, Krenek and Lutoslawski. As cellist he has recorded all the major works of the repertoire.  Apart from his prize-winning Bach Solo Suites (EMI) and Shostakovich concertos (Philips), which won the Grand Prix du Disque, Schiff has also recorded the Dvorak cello concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic (Previn), the Schumann concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (Haitink), and the Brahms Double Concerto with Frank Peter Zimmermann (Sawallisch), the latter being awarded the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis.  In 2000 he released the complete Beethoven works for cello and piano with Till Fellner on Philips to huge critical acclaim.
Heinrich Schiff plays ‘The Mara' (Stradivarius 1711) and ‘The Sleeping Beauty' (Montagnana 1739).   

Last updated: February 27, 2007
Heinrich Schiff