Erich Höbarth

Erich Höbarth

Violin

• Born 1956

Biography

Violinist Erich Höbarth is a significant figure on the Austrian scene, performing with both modern and historically oriented ensembles. Since 1987, he has been a member of the Quatuor Mosaïques, a pioneering group in the performance of Classical-era music according to historical performance principles.

Höbarth was born on May 26, 1956, in Vienna. He began taking violin lessons at nine, studying at the Vienna Conservatory with Grete Biedermann. He went on to the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and finally to the Salzburg Mozarteum, where he became a protégé of Sándor Végh. At 21, he joined the Végh Quartet, one of the top chamber groups in the world at the time, as second violinist, and also worked as an assistant to Végh. By the late 1970s, he had become interested in Vienna's burgeoning early music scene, and beginning in 1979, he served as concertmaster of Nikolaus Harnoncourt's Concentus Musicus Wien. Höbarth continues to hold that position. He became first concertmaster of the Vienna Symphony in 1980, serving until 1987, and he has appeared as soloist with the Wiener Kammerorchester, the Camerata Academica Salzburg, and the Helsinki Baroque Orchestra, among other groups. He has also worked as a conductor and served from 2000 to 2009 as the artistic director of the Camerata Bern.

Höbarth has specialized in chamber music and has co-founded several influential groups, one of which was the Vienna String Sextet. That group, which sought to commission contemporary Viennese works, toured widely in Europe. In 1987, Höbarth co-founded the Quatuor Mosaïques, among the first groups to specialize in playing music of the Classical period on historical instruments. As of 2021, that group continued to perform with its original membership. Höbarth has also collaborated in chamber works with such artists as pianist András Schiff, clarinetist Sabine Meyer, and harpsichordist and fortepianist Aapo Häkkinen.

Höbarth has a large chamber music discography, which includes a cycle of Haydn's piano trios, performed with cellist Christophe Coin and keyboardist Patrick Cohen. He has recorded for Querstand, ECM, Naxos, and many other labels. In 2021, Höbarth was heard with Häkkinen and violinist Alexander Rudin in a historically oriented recording on Naxos of Schubert's Piano Trio No. 2 in E flat major, D. 929. Höbarth has taught at the Graz University of Music and the Vienna University of Music and has been a violin professor at the Leipzig University of Music since 2013. He is in demand internationally for master classes at summer festivals.

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