The cellist and conductor Heinrich Schiff today looks 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 the major festivals in Europe, North America and Japan.
Already while studying Heinrich Schiff pursued diverse musical interests, attending, e.g., conducting classes with Hans Swarowsky. While at the outset of his career the cello was in the center, conducting gradually became more and more important from 1985 onwards. Many a good advice came from conductors with whom he has been friends. For over 20 years now cello performances and conducting have come to play equal roles in his appearances.
Since 1990 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 Wiener KammerOrchester – after a very successful Beethoven cycle he will appear with the latter with a cycle of the Schubert Symphonies at the Konzerthaus, Vienna in 2008/09. As an operatic conductor he has led, among others, productions at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Bruxelles (The Magic Flute, Fidelio).
Heinrich Schiff frequently appears as a conductor with numerous international orchestras such as Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Oslo Philharmonic, Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Münchner Philharmoniker, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg and Wiener Symphoniker.
In December 2007 Heinrich Schiff led the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden and Freiburg with Gidon Kremer as soloist on a highly acclaimed tour and in February 2008 he has been guest of the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg with a Beethoven-Lutoslawski-Mahler programme.
At the Salzburg Easter Festival 2008 he appeared as soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic with Sir Simon Rattle, performing Dvorák’s cello concerto.
In the forthcoming season Heinrich Schiff will again be guest with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and with the Hallé Orchestra Manchester, both conducting and playing. In France he will continue his regular collaboration with the Orchestre National de Lyon and will return to the Orchestre de Paris at the Salle Pleyel in January 2009.
Apart from performing as a soloist, Heinrich Schiff appears in duo recitals with Till Fellner, Leif Ove Andsnes, Martin Helmchen and Polina Leschenko and in trio recitals with Christian Zacharias and Frank Peter Zimmermann. In June 2008 Heinrich Schiff appeared with the Alban Berg Quartet on their farewell tour with Schubert's String Quintet C Major. He frequently performs the Bach solo suites.
In addition to his extensive discography as a cellist, Heinrich Schiff has released a number of 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.