Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Persons catalog

Heinrich Schiff

Heirich Schiff – Austrian cellist, born in 1951. He studied in Vienna under Tobias Kühne and in Detmold under André Navarra. After his debut in 1971 in Vienna and London he began a brilliant career, appearing with leading orchestras and conductors. Contemporary music has an important place in his repertoire, and many composers have written music for him.

In October, 1971, the less than twenty-year-old musician performed Witold Lutosławski's Cello Concerto at the festival of the International Society for Contemporary Music in Graz, at a time when Mstislav Rostropovich was denied permission to leave the Soviet Union. Two years later, the Polish premiere of Witold Lutosławski's Cello Concerto was given at the closing concert of the 17th Warsaw Autumn festival with Heinrich Schiff, and the composer as conductor. Schiff's performance made a great impression on the listeners. The Austrian artist received the Orpheus statuette, and Lutosławski himself admitted that he prefers his playing to "Rostropovich's interpretation, because it is more objective".

For many years, Heinrich Schiff often performed the Concerto as soloist, and beginning in 1999 he conducted it numerous times accompanying other cellists. He recorded the work under the direction of the composer with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. (kt/mk)