Wilhelm Melcher

Biography

Born: April 5, 1940; Hamburg, Germany  
Wilhelm Melcher is one of Germany's best known chamber musicians and a founding member of the Melos Quartet Stuttgart, one of the countries' leading string quartets.

After studies in Hamburg and Rome, he won the 1962 International Chamber Music Competition in Venice and in 1963 became concertmaster of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra at the age of twenty-three.

Looking to form a regular string quartet, he enlisted two brothers,
Read more violinist Gerhard Ernst Voss, a member of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, and his older sibling Hermann Voss, the principal violist of the Stuttgart Symphony Chamber Orchestra since 1960.

Gerhard Voss brought with him cellist Peter Buck, also a member of the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra, who also happened to be born in Stuttgart. The name of the Melos Quartet derives from the Greek Island of Melos (or Milos), and also plays on the first syllable of Melcher's name. The addition of "Stuttgart" helps distinguish the German quartet from the Melos Ensemble, the London-based co-operative of twelve chamber musicians who form various combinations of instruments as needed and had been in existence since 1950. The quartet was officially based in Stuttgart because of the ties Hermann Voss and Peter Buck had with the city.

The Melos Quartet quickly began attracting international attention when it won two major prizes in 1966, the prize for Best Quartet in the Geneva International Competition and an award in the Villa-Lobos String Quartet Competition of Rio de Janeiro. This led to its being sponsored by the Deutsches Musikleben foundation and to representation of West Germany in the Young Musicians international festival in Paris, still in 1967.

Their rapid success led all the members to resign from their orchestral positions so that they could concentrate on the Melos Quartet full-time. By 1970 they had completed their first integral recording of the Beethoven string quartets, and became well established as recording artists, as well as a leading international chamber group. They have recorded for Deutsche Grammophon and Harmonia Mundi.

Melcher is a noted teacher and gives master classes both on his own and as a member of the quartet. He plays a violin made in 1731 by Domenico Montagnaga.

For recommended recordings see under Melos Quartet Stuttgart. Read less

There are 7 Wilhelm Melcher recordings available.

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