Happy 85th, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Happy 85th birthday to Maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt (née Johannes Nicolaus Graf de la Fontaine und d’Harnoncourt-Unverzagt– I really do need a posher name), cellist, conductor and visionary. Without doubt, one of the most interesting musicians of the last 50 years.


Cellist, conductor, visionary and lumberjack, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Cellist, conductor, visionary and lumberjack, Nikolaus Harnoncourt

Harnoncourt, to me, represents the what happens when rigorous and questing scholarship is wedded to temperament, insight and a taste for danger. Too often, one can guess every choice of a HIP interpreter before they even give their first downbeat. Not so with Harnoncourt- for him, a historical understanding of style and context opens the door to ever more shocking and thrilling flexibility and creativity. He’s just about the ultimate “point of view” conductor- and we need more of them on the podium.




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About the author

American conductor, composer and cellist Kenneth Woods is Principal Conductor of the English Symphony Orchestra, Artistic Director of the Colorado MahlerFest and cellist of the string trio Ensemble Epomeo. He records for the Avie, Somm, Nimbus, Signum, MSR and Toccata labels.

Learn about Kenneth at www.kennethwoods.net

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