Born in Wuppertal
Member since 1978-01-01
Member of the Fünferrat (Council of Five) (1997-2005)
»One of my teachers in Heidelberg raved about the Berliner Philharmoniker and won me over with a record of Beethoven’s ›Eroica‹.« Since then it was my goal one day to play in this orchestra. The quality of an orchestra is determined by the sum of the individual musicians’ capabilities. Listening to the colleagues, whether in rehearsal or concert, is always pure, inspiring pleasure. I’m grateful to be able to play here and marvel at how the artistically and otherwise thoroughly dissimilar individuals in the orchestra can focus their energies in order to produce such a powerful and concentrated sound.«
Ulrich Wolff initial learned the violin and later added the double bass because a small chamber ensemble with whom he played in his native city occasionally needed that instrument. He played both in the ensemble as needed. Two ambitious teachers who motivated him to find his profession are responsible for his eventually becoming a double-bass player. Wolff studied with Rainer Zepperitz at the Berlin Hochschule der Künste. In 1977 he was a member of the world youth orchestra directed by Leonard Bernstein in Seoul and Tokyo, and in the following year he began playing with the Berliner Philharmoniker, interrupting his service from 1981 to 1985 in order to play as principal double bass under Sergiu Celibidache in the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra.
From 1997-99 he also was in the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra. He performs with many chamber ensembles, for example the Ensemble Berin, which he co-founded, and the Philharmonic String Octet. Wolff has also appeared with Isaac Stern, the Auryn Quartet and the Philharmonia Quartet of Berlin. His special love is early music, which he has cultivated since childhood. A former member of Musica Antiqua Köln and a member of Concerto Melante, Ulrich Wolff is proficient on such historic instruments as the violone in D and G and the viola da gamba. His engagement on behalf of young musicians is seen in the numerous master classes that he gives.
Since 2005, he has taught at the Gustav Mahler Academy founded in Potenza, Italy by Claudio Abbado. A large portion of his free time is also devoted to music. Ulrich Wolff’s occupations include research into the source material of musical works and reading the musicological literature. His favourite extra-musical activity is walking in the mountains.