Aurèle Nicolet was one of the greatest flautists of the 20th century and a defining musician of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the postwar period. He died on 30 January 2016 at the age of 90. Aurèle Nicolet, who was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, studied in Zurich and Paris. After first engagements in Zurich and Winterthur he became principal flautist with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1950. He left the orchestra in 1959 and made a name internationally as a soloist and teacher. Among his pupils was the Philharmoniker's principal flautist Emmanuel Pahud. Many composers dedicated works to Aurèle Nicolet, including Toru Takemitsu, György Ligeti, Aribert Reimann and Edison Denisov.
Ulrich Knörzer, member of the orchestra board of the Berliner Philharmoniker: “The idea we take for granted today that an orchestral musician can also be an outstanding soloist owes much to musicians such as Aurèle Nicolet. With his tone, influenced by the French school, he enriched the Berliner Philharmoniker with a new colour that can still be heard in our orchestra to this day. Through his commitment to contemporary music, Aurèle Nicolet also opened up the infinite possibilities of the flute in the music world. We mourn the loss of a great musician, and with him, one of the last of the protagonists of Furtwängler and early Karajan years.”