The Austrian cellist and conductor Heinrich Schiff died on 22 December. He performed with major orchestras throughout the world and appeared as a soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker over many years. One focus of his work was contemporary music, as his debut with the Philharmoniker in 1987 with Hans Werner Henze’s English Love Songs showed. In the following years he appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker as the soloist in the great Romantic cello concertos in particular, most recently at the Salzburg Easter Festival under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle in 2008, when he played Antonín Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. He also performed on several occasions in the Chamber Music Hall, playing cello sonatas and piano trios.
Knut Weber, orchestra board member and cellist of the Berliner Philharmoniker: “With the death of Heinrich Schiff, we have lost an honourable artist and excellent cellist. He was at home in the most diverse styles and engaged passionately in working together with contemporary composers to expand the cello repertoire. He was also a highly respected teacher of young cellists, many of whom also became successful soloists. We did not have the opportunity in recent years to see him on the concert stage as a cellist. However, he will always remain in our memory thanks to his outstanding abilities and his sparkling energy.”