Sebastian Gürtler, who originally hails from Hallein, Austria, was appointed first violin of the Hugo Wolf Quartet in 2005. Receiving his formal training from Helmut Zehetmair, Corrado Romano, Ernst Kovacic and Philippe Hirschhorn, he has performed as a soloist with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, Camerata Academica Salzburg, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Dresden Philharmonic, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and Vienna Academic Philharmonic, under such conductors as Sandor Vegh, Lothar Zagrosek, Trevor Pinnock, Günther Herbig and Yehudi Menuhin, to name just a few. His chamber music partners include Stefan Mendl, Markus Schirmer, Clemens Hagen, members of the Vienna-Berlin Ensemble and Art of Brass, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Alegre Corrêa and Rebekka Bakken. He has also served as the First Concertmaster of the Vienna Volksoper Orchestra since 1997. In 2000, Gürtler founded the ensemble AMARCORD. With the positions violin, cello, double bass and accordion, the formation's repertoire ranges from own compositions to ethnic music, and from works by Modest Mussorgsky, Astor Piazzolla, Dmitri Shostakovich and Erik Satie to compositions written expressly for AMARCORD. The ensemble's arrangement of the Mussorgsky piano cycle, "Pictures at an Exhibition", brought it immediate international recognition. The current project is a CD of works by Erik Satie, and will be released in late 2005. As a member of Vienna's Music & Comedy Company, Sebastian Gürtler debuted with a highly acclaimed solo musical comedy show in April 2005, in the Vienna Musikverein.
Régis Bringolf, born in Switzerland, started his musical career very early with Jean Piguet in Lausanne. Already during his first performing period he received awards such the “Prix Gerber” (Lausanne) and the first prize at the 1985 "Jeunesse musicale suisse".
Apart from soloing with different orchestras he also was substitute concertmaster at the Lausanne Opera. At the age of nineteen he earned his Diplôme de Virtuosité (summa cum laude) at the Fribourg Conservatory under Patrick Genet.
After moving to Vienna his further professional development was accompanied by Michael Schnitzler and Günter Pichler at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts as well as by Isaac Stern, Shmuel Ashkenasi, Walter Levin and Norbert Brainin.
In 1993 he co-founded Hugo Wolf Quartet which was awarded several international prizes such as the "European Chamber Music Prize" and the "Special Prize of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra" shortly after. For nearly two decades he has decisively influenced the development of the quartet which has performed in the world's most renowned concert halls. In addition to his part as a second violin in the quartet he has received invitations from different orchestras to perform as a soloist.
His most recent engagement was at the “Lockenhaus Festival” with a violin concerto by Joseph Haydn. Régis Bringolf also teaches courses in chamber music at the Northwestern University and De Paul University in Chicago as well as at the Universities in Urbana, San Diego and at the University of Northern California.
Florian Berner - Ever since I heard a cello for the first time - a moment I recall very well - I have been fascinated by its sound. I love its timbre so close to the human voice and its wonderful repertoire as well as its seemingly endless possibilities of expression which offer a broad range of musical challenges to be mastered:
First and foremost, I am a passionate chamber musician. At the age of 20, I co-founded the Hugo Wolf Quartet, an ensemble that has in the meantime performed in all the world’s music capitals and has gained international recognition. For me, the string quartet is the preeminent chamber music genre. Starting with four similar string instruments it holds a great deal of suspense, testing composers throughout the ages to their limits while at the same time providing them with an ideal genre for conveying autobiographical reflections and intimate messages through music. We, the lucky members of string quartets the world over, are indeed privileged to reap the rewards!
In various different instrumental configurations, I have had the pleasure of collaborating with such outstanding musicians as Paul Meyer, the late Mihaela Ursuleasa, Alois Posch and Thomas Hampson, as well as Jazz greats like Kenny Wheeler and John Taylor.
Naturally, I also enjoy the challenge of working as a soloist. Among the many highlights, I performed in the world premiere of Dirk D´Ase’s “Die Leidenschaften des Don Juan” (Don Juan’s Passions) at the Attersee Festival, a piece that was recorded on CD together with the Bach Cello Suites Nr. 1 and Nr. 5. For the “Vienna Mozart Year,” I was invited to perform in the Golden Hall of the Musikverein, I was guest of the Bregenz Festival and in Lockenhaus and I appeared in a TV Tokyo documentary on Beethoven’s cello sonatas. In addition, I was guest principal cellist of the Tonkünstler Orchestra and was regularly invited by Claudio Abbado to join the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.
I was born in Vienna in 1973. At the age of 16, I began studying cello at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. My teachers were Angelica May and the members of the Alban Berg Quartet – and later, in Italy, the wonderful Mario Brunello. Master classes with the late Norbert Brainin of the Amadeus Quartet and Walter Levin of the LaSalle Quartet were also highly formative experiences.
Today, I take pleasure in passing on what I have learned to young musicians in my cello class at the Music Conservatory in Klagenfurt.
Together with my colleagues from the Hugo Wolf Quartet, I received the Special Prize of the Vienna Philharmonic and was elected as a Rising Star (1998). We are also recipients of the European Chamber Music Prize, which is awarded for outstanding talent and exceptional performance as an ensemble.
My cello was built by Nicolaus Gagliano in Naples, 1819.