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Cellist HEINRICH SCHIFF, born in 1951, began playing the piano at the age of six and the violoncello at the age of ten. Following his studies with Tobias Kühne, and subsequently André Navarra, he made his debut in Vienna and London in 1971. For the past 25 years Heinrich Schiff has performed with all the leading orchestras in the major halls and music festivals in Europe, USA and Japan. He has worked with many of the world’s leading conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Sergiu Celebidache, Colin Davis, Christoph von Dohnányi, Michael Gielen, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Mariss Jansons, Kurt Masur, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Klaus Tennstedt.
An important part of his artistic work is devoted to contemporary music and he has worked with contemporary composers and premiered works; these include pieces by Lutoslawski, Henze, Berio, Cerha, and Krenek. Heinrich Schiff has recorded the principal works from Vivaldi to Haydn and Dvorák, Lutoslawki, and B. A. Zimmermann for Philips, and in addition to his acclaimed and prize-winning recording of Bach’s Solo Cello Suites (EMI) he was awarded the “Grand Prix du Disque” for his recordings of Shostakovich’s cello concertos. His more recent recordings for Philips include Dvorák’s cello concerto with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by André Previn, Schumann’s cello concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink, and sonatas by Vivaldi and Geminiani with Ton Koopmann. 1997 (the Brahms anniversary year) saw the release of the two sonatas with Gerhard Oppitz (Philips) and the Double Concerto with Frank Peter Zimmermann and the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Sawallisch (EMI), which won the Deutsche Schallplattenpreis. In Spring 2000 EMI released his Beethoven sonatas with pianist Till Fellner, to great acclaim. As a conductor Heinrich Schiff regularly directs renowned orchestras in Europe, USA, and Japan (e.g. Philharmonia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle). He was Artistic Director of the Northern Sinfonia (1990-96), Principal Conductor of the Copenhagen Philharmonic (1996-99), and Principal Guest Conductor of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie (1990-92). Since 1996 he has been Principal Conductor of the Musikkollegium Winterthur, and since 1998 Principal Guest Conductor of the SDR Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart. Heinrich Schiff plays one of the most famous Stradivarius cellos, “The Mara” 1711.