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Classicsonline Home » Artists » » Harnoncourt, Nikolaus

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Nikolaus Harnoncourt (b1929)


Born in Berlin, the Austrian conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt spent his childhood and youth in Graz, where he grew up in the Meran Palace. His father was a scion of the de la Fontaine-d’Harnoncourt-Unverzagt family, Counts of Luxembourg and Lorraine, his mother the great-granddaughter of Archduke Johann of Styria.

Heeding his early artistic ambition, he ultimately preferred to study cello at the Vienna Academy of Music. He joined the Vienna Symphony Orchestra as a cellist in 1952.

A year later he founded the Concentus Musicus Wien ensemble together with his wife Alice, to provide a forum for his increasingly intensive work with period instruments and Renaissance and baroque musical performance tradition. Nikolaus Harnoncourt collected historical instruments and, in addition to his performing and conducting activities, devoted his time to his philosophical analyses of “Musik als Klangrede” (music as speech), which have to date remained the seminal works on the performance of early music, the key to an entire universe of forgotten works and musical experiences buried under the sands of time.

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Discography


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Domenico Scarlatti Keyboard Sonatas – 15 Volumes on Naxos



 

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