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Heinrich Schiff

Heinrich Schiff started his musical activities at the age of six on the recorder and piano, taking up the cello at nine. He studied with Tobias Kühne in Vienna until he was twenty-two, subsequently spending three years with André Navarra in Detmold. He recalls Navarra’s finely-detailed approach to nuances of bowing which he said came from the fingertips: ‘the last link in the chain between body and sound, the refiners’. Schiff made his Vienna and London débuts in 1971 and a year later deputised for an indisposed Rostropovich in the Lutosławski Cello Concerto at the ISCM Music Festival in Graz, Austria—an event that accelerated his development as an internationally-known soloist. As a teacher he has worked at the Basle Conservatory, the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Vienna University of Music and Dramatic Arts. In 1982 at the Dartington Summer School he conducted a number of well-received masterclasses which were noted for their intellectual rigour. Schiff’s most well-known pupils include Quirine Viersen, who describes him as ‘very open-minded […] always interested in learning more’, and Natalie Clein.




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