Harnoncourt was born in Berlin, was brought up in Graz and studied music in Vienna. Nikolaus Harnoncourt founded Concentus Musicus Wien with his wife, Alice Hoffelner, in 1953 while playing cello with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. That group was dedicated to authentic performances on period instruments, and by the 1970s his work with it had made him quite well known. He played the viola da gamba at this time, as well as the cello.
In 1971, Harnoncourt started a joint project with conductor Gustav Leonhardt to record all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantatas. The project was eventually completed in 1990, and (barring a couple of cantatas, nos. 51 and 199) was the first and only cantata cycle to utilise an all-male choir and soloist roster.
He has been recognized with the Sonning Award (Denmark) in 1993 and Kyoto Prize (Japan) 2005.

Edited by guitarichie on 18 Jul 2007, 16:11

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