Heinz Holliger


Born: May 21, 1939   Country: Switzerland  
Heinz Holliger (b. 1939) is considered one of the world's leading oboe virtuosos, as well as a noted composer and conductor. He began playing recorder at age four and piano at six. Eventually he switched to oboe, studying with Cassagnaud and Veress at the Berne Conservatory. He then moved to Paris to study oboe with Pierlot, and piano with Lefébure. In 1959 he won a first prize for oboe in the Geneva Competition, and in the same year was hired as Read more an oboist by the Basel Symphony Orchestra. Meanwhile, he studied composition with Pierre Boulez form 1961 to 1963. His career as an international oboe virtuoso began in 1963. His tours included solo appearances, performances with his wife, the harpist Ursula Holliger, and chamber music appearances with the Holliger Ensemble, a chamber group he founded. He was appointed professor of oboe at the Staatliche Musikhochschule of Freiburg in 1965.

He quickly became known as the outstanding oboist of the time. He adopted the smoother, thinner French sound rather than the wider German quality. Even by comparison with the French sound, his tone quality is exceptionally bright. He has a deep understanding for the performance practices of all eras of music, and has garnered particular praise for his mastery of the many extended techniques related to the performance of twentieth century music. He is credited with having extended the technical range of the instrument more than any other oboist. Some of these extended techniques include harmonics, double trills, multiphonics, and glissandos. In interviews he has disputed this accreditation, saying, "I have invented nothing." He points to instances where these techniques appeared in earlier music, such as an oboe glissando in Mahler's Third Symphony, but in fact he was the first to make extensive use of these techniques. In addition, he has introduced new sounds attainable only by placing a microphone inside the instrument.

He is very alert to the need for expanding the repertoire of the instrument. He has been critical of oboists for not commissioning challenging new works. He has commissioned works from Berio, Stockhausen, Penderecki, Frank Martin, Pousseur, Henze, Krenek, Jolivet, and Lutoslawski. The Lutoslawski work, a double concerto for oboe, harp, and orchestra, written for Holliger and his wife, is considered a masterpiece of twentieth century literature.

Holliger began composing when he was young, and has compiled an extensive catalogue in many genres. His music is thoroughly influenced by Schoenberg, Webern and Luigi Nono. Holliger composed The Magical Dances for two dancers, chorus, orchestra, and tape, a work of exceptional aural density and fine nuances. He has also used Indian rhythms to represent specific poetic imagery. In Pneuma (1970) for thirty-six winds, four radios, organ, and percussion, he requires the performers to make specific breathing sounds into microphones, and Cardiophonie uses an amplified stethoscope attached to a solo wind player to add the players pulse to the music. Usually Holliger's music has a very tight internal logic caused by the strict use of serial procedures, and his musical textures can range from slow, attenuated wisps of sound to combinations of instrumental sound so thick that they practically become "white noise." His compositions are almost uniformly technically difficult to perform, and highly challenging to listen to. Read less
Browse 1-24 of 24 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    Modern Lied / Sun, Schulze
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 297 Release Date: 06/16/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Salvatore Sciarrino,  Helmut Lachenmann,  György Kurtág  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah Maria Sun,  Jan Philip Schulze
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  • 2.
    Bach & Friends / Revax
    Label: Solo Musica   Catalog: 257 Release Date: 04/07/2017   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Heinz Holliger,  Xavier Dayer,  Pascal Dusapin  ... 
    Performer:  Estelle Revaz
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  • 3.
    Herbert Schuch: The Oehms Classics Recordings
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 12 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Maurice Ravel,  Alexander von Zemlinsky,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Schuch,  Mirijam Contzen
    Conductor:  Olari Elts
    CD: $34.99
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  • 4.
    Heinz Holliger: Machaut-transkriptionen
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002403302 Release Date: 11/06/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Guillaume de Machaut,  Heinz Holliger
    Performer:  Jürg Dähler,  Muriel Cantoreggi,  Genevičve Strosser
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hilliard Ensemble
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  • 5.
    New Music For Double Bass And Oboe
    Label: Phil.harmonie   Catalog: 6032 Release Date: 10/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Roland Moser,  Elliott Carter,  Alexander Jemnitz  ... 
    Performer:  Edicson Ruiz,  Heinz Holliger
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  • 6.
    Holliger: Romancendres, Feuerwerklein, Chaconne, Partita / Haefliger, Vonsattel S
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 14330 Release Date: 07/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger
    Performer:  Daniel Haefliger,  Gilles Vonsattel
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  • 7.
    Aschenmusik - Schumann, Holliger / Holliger, Leuzinger, Kernjak
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 002084702 Release Date: 06/24/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Heinz Holliger
    Performer:  Anton Kernjak,  Anita Leuzinger,  Heinz Holliger
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  • 8.
    New Horizons
    Label: Genuin Classics   Catalog: 14315 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Rudolf Kelterborn,  Bernhard Lang,  Helena Winkelman  ... 
    Performer:  Viviane Chassot,  Marcus Weiss,  Raphael Rosenfeld
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  • 9.
    Lost In Venice With Prometheus / Jan Michiels
    Label: Fuga Libera   Catalog: 716 Release Date: 03/25/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Zoltán Kocsis,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Luigi Nono  ... 
    Performer:  Jan Michiels
    CD: $37.49
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  • 10.
    Bruckner, Beethoven, Holliger, Hartmann / Zehetmair Quartet
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 4763942 Release Date: 08/13/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Anton Bruckner,  Karl Amadeus Hartmann,  Heinz Holliger,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Zehetmair Quartet,  Françoise Groben
    CD: $39.99
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  • 11.
    Capriccio - 20th And 21st Century Works For Solo Oboe / Enrico Calcagni
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 756 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Siegfried Thiele,  Friedrich Schenker,  Luca Belcastro  ... 
    Performer:  Enrico Calcagni
    CD: $17.99
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  • 12.
    Debussy, Holliger, Honegger, Ravel
    Label: Honens   Catalog: 201103 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Arthur Honegger,  Claude Debussy,  Maurice Ravel
    Performer:  Gilles Vonsattel
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  • 13.
    Contrechant /  Reto Bieri
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001627102 Release Date: 12/06/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luciano Berio,  Elliott Carter,  Peter Eötvös,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    Performer:  Reto Bieri
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  • 14.
    Gyorgy Ligeti: Sonata For Viola
    Label: Aeon   Catalog: 1100 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger,  Franco Donatoni,  Helmut Lachenmann,  Giacinto Scelsi  ... 
    Performer:  Genevičve Strosser
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  • 15.
    Label: Henceforth Records   Catalog: 5637710064 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Dai Fujikura,  Heinz Holliger,  Andrew Staniland,  Frederic Rzewski
    Performer:  Gregory Oh,  Simon Docking,  Stephen Tam,  Max Christie  ... 
    Conductor:  Gregory Oh
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Toca Loca
    CD: $18.99
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  • 16.
    Martinu: Concerto; Antal Dorati: Divertimento; Heinz Holliger: Sonata
    Label: Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog: 9031586 Release Date: 04/06/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antal Doráti,  Heinz Holliger,  Bohuslav Martinu
    Performer:  Yeon-Hee Kwak
    Conductor:  Johannes Goritzki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Radio Orchestra
    SuperAudio CD: $18.99
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  • 17.
    Schumann: Nachtstucke Op 23;  Scriabin, Ravel, Hilliger, Mozart / Herbert Schuch
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 733 Release Date: 04/28/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Heinz Holliger,  Alexander Scriabin,  Maurice Ravel  ... 
    Performer:  Herbert Schuch
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  • 18.
    Label: Musicaphon   Catalog: 56904 Release Date: 07/29/2008   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Heidrun Holtmann
    CD: $29.99
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  • 19.
    Gottwald: Choral Transcriptions / Creed, SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart
    Label: Carus   Catalog: 83181 Release Date: 11/06/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henri Duparc,  André Caplet,  Gustav Mahler,  Richard Wagner  ... 
    Conductor:  Marcus Creed
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stuttgart Southwest German Radio Vocal Ensemble
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  • 20.
    Label: Musiques Suisses   Catalog: 105 Release Date: 09/25/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Heinz Holliger
    Performer:  Bernard Haas,  Tabea Zimmermann
    Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Contrechamps Ensemble,  Geneva Conservatory Students
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  • 21.
    Harp Recital - Bach, Britten, Holliger / Sarah O'Brien
    Label: Audite   Catalog: 92561 Release Date: 09/05/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  André Caplet,  Germaine Tailleferre,  Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    Performer:  Sarah O'Brien
    SuperAudio CD: $19.99
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  • 22.
    Label: Musiques Suisses   Catalog: 6240 Release Date: 07/25/2006   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Bohuslav Martinu,  Frank Martin  ... 
    Performer:  Derrik Olsen,  Hugues Cuénod,  Teodor Ciurdea,  Kathrin Graf  ... 
    Conductor:  Paul Sacher
    CD: $54.49
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  • 23.
    21st Century Instrumental Solos
    Label: Oehms   Catalog: 533 Release Date: 12/27/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Mauricio Kagel,  Hans-Jürgen von Bose,  Heinz Holliger,  Aribert Reimann  ... 
    Performer:  Andrea Brown,  Gerard Kim,  Measha Brüggergosman,  Tyler Duncan  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Con Brio Trio
    CD: $29.99
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  • 24.
    Camerata Bern
    Label: Musiques Suisses   Catalog: 69 Release Date: 03/27/2001   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Rudolf Kelterborn,  Heinz Holliger,  Klaus Huber  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger
    Conductor:  Heinz Holliger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Bern
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