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Heinrich Schiff

Heinrich Schiff Austrian cellist and conductor

Austrian cellist and conductor
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Austrian cellist and conductor
Is Musician Conductor Cellist Educator
From Austria
Type Academia Music
Gender male
Birth 18 November 1951, Gmunden
Age: 68 years
The details

Heinrich Schiff (18 November 1951 – 23 December 2016) was an Austrian cellist and conductor.

Early life

Heinrich Schiff was born on 18 November 1951 in Gmunden, Austria. His parents, Helga (nee Riemann) and Helmut Schiff, were composers. He studied cello with Tobias Kühne and André Navarra and made his solo debut in Vienna and London in 1971. He studied conducting with Hans Swarowsky.


Schiff made his conducting debut in 1986. He was Artistic Director of the Northern Sinfonia from 1990 to 1996, and recorded with them for the Collins Classics label. He also held chief conductorships with the Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra in Copenhagen, Denmark (1996–2000), and the Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur.

In 2004, he was appointed Chief Conductor of the Vienna Chamber Orchestra and served in the post from 2005 to 2008. He stood down from the post in 2008 for health reasons.

Schiff played the "Mara" Stradivarius (1711) and "Sleeping Beauty" made by Montagnana in Venice in 1739. His recording of the Bach Cello Suites won prizes, and his recording of the Shostakovich concertos won the Grand Prix du Disque in 1985. His recording of the Brahms Double Concerto with Frank Peter Zimmermann and Wolfgang Sawallisch won the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis. Composers who have written cello concertos for Schiff include John Casken and Friedrich Cerha.

Among his students were Rudi Spring, Gautier Capuçon, Richard Harwood and Natalie Clein.


Schiff died in Vienna on 23 December 2016 at the age of 65.

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