The cellist and conductor Heinrich Schiff can today look back on a career that spans many decades. After studying the cello with Tobias Kühne and André Navarra, he made his debut in Vienna and London in 1971. Since then, he has been a regular guest of all leading orchestras, at the big music centers and at major festivals in Europe, North America and Japan.
Heinrich Schiff has released recordings of the main cello repertoire, ranging from Vivaldi and Haydn to Lutoslawski and Zimmermann and has been awarded multiple prizes. His recording of the Bach Solo-Suites are seen as a milestone in Bach interpretation and have significantly influenced multiple generations of musicians that have followed. In addition, Schiff has accumulated widespread critical acclaim for his recording of the complete Beethoven works for cello and piano with Till Fellner.
Contemporary music plays an important role in Heinrich Schiff’s artistic work. He performed many premiers of contemporary works for cello. Furthermore, his interest in chamber music has been formative for his carreer as a cellist. His partners are Leif Ove Andsnes, Martin Helmchen, the Alban Berg Quartet and the Hagen Quartet, as well as Christian Zacharias and Peter Zimmermann in a trio formation.
While at the beginning of his career his work was centered around the cello, conducting gradually became more and more important to him. Beginning in 1985 and continuing on, conducting has come to play the more important role in his appearances. Heinrich Schiff has held various positions as Chief Conductor and Principal Guest Conductor with the following orchestras: Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Northern Sinfonia, Copenhagen Philharmonic, Musikkollegium Winterthur, Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart, Bruckner Orchester Linz and Chamber Orchestra Vienna. As an operatic conductor he has led, among others, productions at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Bruxelles (The Magic Flute, Fidelio).
His impressive work as a conductor is documented in numerous recordings, conducting orchestras such as the Northern Sinfonia, Philharmonia Orchestra and Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. The repertoire of these recordings ranges from Haydn and Beethoven to Schreker, Krenek and Lutoslawski.
The Henrich Schiff School of Playing has strongly influenced many great cellists, and his intensive support and guidance has helped guide many to lead impressive careers. His commitment to young artists can also be seen in his work with youth orchestras such as SHMF Festival Orchestra, Young European Classic, the Verbier Chamber Orchestra and many more.