Composers / Witold Lutosławski / Persons catalog

Ursula Holliger

Ursula Holliger (1937–2014) – Swiss harpist, who after her studies in Basil and Brussels won the International Harp Contest in Israel, which opened her way to the great concert halls of the world. She appeared as soloist with the leading orchestras of Europe and America, and made numerous recordings, including the premieres of two concertos for violin and harp by Louis Spohr. She frequently makes concert appearances with her husband, most often with the contemporary repertoire. Many composers have written works for oboe and harp for Heinz and Ursula Holliger.

Among them is Witold Lutosławski, who remained under the impression of Heinz Holliger's artful performances, and planned to present him with an oboe concerto. He admitted, however, that writing a work for a melody instrument was for his a difficult task at the time. Finally, at the musician's request plans were changed, and the Double Concerto for Oboe and Harp, dedicated to the Holligers, was created. The world premiere of the work took place on August 24, 1980, in Luzerne, with the participation of Heinz and Ursula Holliger and the Collegium Musicum under the direction of Paul Sacher, who commissioned the work from Lutosławski. In the next month the artists performed the composition in Warsaw, with the composer as conductor. (kt / trans. mk)