Eduard Brunner

Eduard Brunner


• 1939 2017


Swiss-German clarinetist Eduard Brunner was notable for collaborations with top-quality chamber groups, for adventurous recordings, and perhaps especially for his commitment to contemporary music. Born in Basel, Switzerland, in 1939, he studied with pioneering French clarinetist Louis Cahuzac in Paris until Cahuzac's death in a motorcycle crash. The fundamentals of his professional life were common enough in pattern: he spent many years as first clarinetist of the Bavarian Radio Symphony during the conductorship of Rafael Kubelik, later moving on to a professorship at the Hochschüle für Musik in the west German city of Saarbrücken. Along the way came rounds of the top European festivals and master classes at the likes of the Marlboro Music Festival in the U.S. state of Vermont. Brunner commissioned many of the contemporary standards of clarinet music, including concertos by Edison Denisov, Jean Françaix, Ernest Bloch, and Cristóbal Halffter, but he was also an enthusiastic exponent of clarinet standards by the likes of Spohr, Weber, and Stamitz. His recordings, more than 250 in number, appeared on a variety of labels, with a concentration of them appearing on the avant-garde jazz/classical German label ECM. Perhaps most characteristic were Brunner's chamber music collaborations, in which he often joined with critically acclaimed artists of a somewhat intellectual cast: Alfred Brendel, the Végh Quartet, and Yuri Bashmet. In 2007 Brunner issued a disc of contemporary Swiss clarinet music on the small Musiques Suisses label; the disc included an interview with Brunner by Max Nyffeler. Remaining active as he neared his eighth decade, Brunner followed that up with one of several recordings he made of wind chamber music by German composer Harald Genzmer. Brunner died in Munich at the age of 77 in 2017.