Heinz Holliger

Biography

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 1-25 of 97 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Archiv Produktion: Analogue Stereo Recordings (1959-1981)
    Label: Archiv Produktion (Dg)   Catalog: 002490502 Release Date: 05/20/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Pierre Vachon,  Nicolas-Marie Dalayrac,  George Frideric Handel  ... 
    Performer:  Maria Stader,  Hedwig Bilgram,  Hertha Töpper,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Karl Richter,  August Wenzinger,  Karl Ristenpart,  Robert Stehli  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Munich Bach Orchestra,  Munich Bach Choir,  Loewenguth String Quartet  ... 
    CD: $106.49
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  • 2.
    Ursula Mamlok, Vol. 5 / Groschopp
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9457 Release Date: 05/10/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ursula Mamlok
    Performer:  Holger Groschopp,  Kolja Lessing,  Frank Lunte,  Tatjana Blome  ... 
    Conductor:  Anthony Korf
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Parnassus
    On sale! $19.98
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  • 3.
    Philips Classics: The Stereo Years
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002445602 Release Date: 02/19/2016   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Jean Sibelius,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Salvatore Accardo,  Elly Ameling,  Dalton Baldwin,  Jörg Demus  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis,  Bernard Haitink,  Raymond Leppard,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $134.49
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  • 4.
    Alfred Brendel: Complete Philips Recordings
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 002434302 Release Date: 01/29/2016   Number of Discs: 114
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Franz Joseph Haydn,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Brendel,  Imogen Cooper,  Sylvia McNair,  Eduard Brunner  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Bernard Haitink,  Simon Rattle  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  London Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $308.99
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  • 5.
    The Ligeti Project
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 553649 Release Date: 01/08/2016   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  György Ligeti
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Peter Masseurs,  Siegfried Palm,  Frank Peter Zimmermann  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinbert De Leeuw,  Jonathan Nott
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Asko-Schönberg Ensemble,  ASKO Ensemble
    On sale! $36.98
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  • 6.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Erato Recordings
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 2564619048 Release Date: 03/10/2015   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg,  Igor Stravinsky,  Pierre Boulez,  Luciano Berio  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre Amoyal,  Peter Serkin,  Simon Estes,  Ann Murray  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Daniel Barenboim
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Ensemble InterContemporain,  BBC Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $49.98
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  • 7.
    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
    CD: $21.49
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  • 8.
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Chamber Music With Winds /  Swiss Chamber Soloists
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 14319 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  François Benda,  Heinz Holliger,  Felix Renggli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Chamber Soloists
    CD: $18.99
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  • 9.
    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
    CD: $21.99
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  • 10.
    Hans Werner Henze: The Complete Deutsche Grammophon Recordings [16-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001873602 Release Date: 08/27/2013   Number of Discs: 16
    Composer:  Hans Werner Henze
    Performer:  Ursula Holliger,  Heinz Holliger,  Wolfgang Schneiderhan,  Siegfried Palm  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Werner Henze,  Paul Sacher,  Ferenc Fricsay,  Richard Kraus  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Zurich Collegium Musicum  ... 
    On sale! $119.98
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  • 11.
    Albinoni, Marcello, Vivaldi: Oboe Concertos
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001742302 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Alessandro Marcello,  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Maria Teresa Garatti,  Heinz Holliger,  Maurice Bourgue
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
    CD: $7.99
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  • 12.
    Albinoni: Adagio; Pachelbel: Canon
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001703302 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Tomaso Albinoni,  Arcangelo Corelli,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Wolfgang Meyer,  Heinz Holliger,  Eric Wyrick,  Eric Bartlett  ... 
    Conductor:  Trevor Pinnock,  Rafael Kubelik,  Alexander Van Wijnkoop,  Claudio Abbado  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
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  • 13.
    Bach: Violin Concertos
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001706002 Release Date: 07/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Gidon Kremer,  Heinz Holliger
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  • 14.
    Messiaen: Orchestral Works / Pierre Boulez, Myung-Whun Chung [10-CD Collector's Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001676602 Release Date: 05/08/2012   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen
    Performer:  Françoise Pollet,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Joela Jones,  Catherine Cournot  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Sir Andrew Davis,  Myung-Whun Chung,  Riccardo Chailly  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra members,  BBC Symphony Chorus  ... 
    On sale! $54.98
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  • 15.
    Strauss: Oboe Concerto, Till Eulenspiegel, Rosenkavalier Waltzes; Lutoslawski: Double Concerto
    Label: Musical Concepts   Catalog: 1134 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Witold Lutoslawski
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Ursula Holliger
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen,  Thomas Schippers
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Vivaldi Masterworks [28 Disc Set]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001599302 Release Date: 09/20/2011   Number of Discs: 28
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Rohan de Saram,  Franco Gulli,  Salvatore Accardo,  Bruno Canino  ... 
    Conductor:  Christopher Hogwood,  Philip Pickett,  Simon Preston,  Paul Dyer
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  I Musici,  New London Consort  ... 
    CD: $72.99
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  • 17.
    The Music Of Ursula Mamlok, Vol. 3
    Label: Bridge   Catalog: 9360 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ursula Mamlok
    Performer:  Phyllis Bryn-Julson,  Harvey Sollberger,  Fred Sherry,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sonar String Quartet
    Recommendation
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  • 18.
    Bach: Concertos And Sinfonias For Oboe, Ich Hatte Viel Bekummernis / Holliger
    Label: Ecm   Catalog: 001574902 Release Date: 07/19/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger
    Conductor:  Erich Höbarth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Bern
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    CD: $21.99
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  • 19.
    Fables - Works by W.F. Bach, Ginastera, Suter, Moeschinger / Renggli, Holliger
    Label: Genuin Musikproduction   Catalog: 11211 Release Date: 06/28/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Ginastera,  Albert Moeschinger,  Robert Suter,  Wilhelm F. Bach
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Felix Renggli
    CD: $18.99
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  • 20.
    Berio: Sequenzas III & VII, Differences / Berberian, Holliger
    Label: Newton Classics   Catalog: 8802040 Release Date: 02/22/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luciano Berio
    Performer:  Cathy Berberian,  Heinz Holliger
    Conductor:  Luciano Berio
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Juilliard Ensemble
    Recommendation
    CD: $12.99
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  • 21.
    Essential Vivaldi
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94136 Release Date: 02/01/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Antonio Vivaldi
    Performer:  Enrico Casazza,  Erik Bosgraaf,  Roberto Loreggian,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    Conductor:  Federico Guglielmo,  Pieter-Jan Leusink
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Magnifica Comunitŕ,  Cordevento,  L'Arte dell'Arco  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 22.
    The Art Of Isang Yun, Vol. 8
    Label: Camerata Records   Catalog: 50031 Release Date: 07/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Isang Yun
    Performer:  Aurčle Nicolet,  Thomas Demenga,  Hansheinz Schneeberger,  Heinz Holliger  ... 
    On sale! $25.98
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  • 23.
    50 Classical Music Favorites
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001388102 Release Date: 06/08/2010   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Luigi Boccherini,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger,  Italo Colandrea,  Antonio Perez,  Michael Copley  ... 
    Conductor:  Frans Brüggen,  Sir Colin Davis,  Kurt Masur,  Silvio Varviso  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici
    CD: $11.99
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  • 24.
    Baroque Oboe Concertos / Negri, Holliger, Staatskappelle
    Label: Philips Baroque Classics   Catalog: 422492 Release Date: 05/13/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Antonio Vivaldi,  Alessandro Marcello,  Jean-Marie Leclair
    Performer:  Heinz Holliger
    Conductor:  Vittorio Negri
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle
    Recommendation
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  • 25.
    Zimmermann: Trumpet, Oboe & Cello Concertos / Gielen
    Label: Philips   Catalog: 434114 Release Date: 03/25/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bernd Alois Zimmermann
    Performer:  Hĺkan Hardenberger,  Heinz Holliger,  Heinrich Schiff
    Conductor:  Michael Gielen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
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