Matthew Hunter

Born in Bellaire, Ohio

Member since 1996-09-01


First prize in the Gee International Viola Competition (1986), Citation of Excellence of the University of Massachusetts (1998)


Fünferrat (Council of Five, 1999-2005)

»My teacher Julian Olevsky was a native of Berlin who was forced to emigrate with his family in 1934. Since the age of six I’ve had his Berlin sound in my Massachusetts ears. When I heard the orchestra’s first note on my first day with the Berliner Philharmoniker, it was as though I had come home, both for the music and for the sound. A circle was closed.«

Matthew Hunter was 26 when he »discovered« the viola. He was pursuing the career of violinist and had devised a special training programme for that instrument: if he could play Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in tune on the larger viola, then – according to his theory – the piece would be »child’s play« for him on the violin. He became so infatuated with the viola’s »dark chocolate« tone that he made the switch over to the deeper instrument. Shortly after that he won the Gee International Viola Competition. Hunter, who began music lessons at the age of seven, cites as his formative teachers Julian Olevsky, Roman Totenberg (former assistant to Carl Flesch in Berlin), Michael Tree and Jaime Laredo. In 1985 he became Masao Kawasaki’s assistant at Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He also earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy at Dartmouth College as well as a Master of Music and Artist’s Diploma. Matthew Hunter came to the Berliner Philharmoniker from Ottawa, where from 1991-95 he was associate principal viola of Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. He is a versatile musician, who also plays the guitar (for example in performances of Mahler’s Seventh Symphony), makes arrangements and plays in several Philharmonic chamber ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic Stradivari Soloists.