Gunar Letzbor

Gunar Letzbor

Violin

• Born 1961

Biography

Baroque violinist Gunar Letzbor emerged from the hotbeds of historical performance in Austria and Germany in the 1980s to found is own group, Ars Antiqua Austria. He has also been active as an educator and author.

Letzbor was born in Austria in 1961. He attended the Mozarteum in Salzburg, studying violin, composition, and conducting. Meeting the historical performance conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt stimulated his interest in early music, and after graduating in 1985, he headed for Cologne for further study with violinist and conductor Reinhard Goebel. In Germany in the late 1980s, Letzbor was active in many of the early music groups of the day in the German-speaking realm, including not only Goebel's Musica Antiqua Köln, but also the Clemencic Consort, the Wiener Akademie, and the Armonico Tributo Basel. In 1995, he founded Ars Antiqua Austria, of which he remains the director. Under his leadership the group grew, taking on a regular concert series at the Wiener Konzerthaus in 2002 and added one at the Brucknerhaus Linz in 2008. Under Letzbor, the group has specialized in the somewhat neglected field of Austrian Baroque music, with Letzbor himself taking the difficult solo parts in the music of Heinrich Ignaz von Biber, and has found itself in demand internationally, mounting tours in the U.S. and Japan as well as across Europe.

Letzbor has led Ars Antiqua Austria in an unusually vigorous catalog of recordings; the group has recorded for the Chesky, Challenge Classics, and Pan Classics labels, among others. In the year 2011 alone, five new recordings by Ars Antiqua Austria appeared. In 2018, the group released an album of music devoted to the little-known Austrian composer Rupert Ignaz Mayr.

Letzbor has taught violin at the University of Lübeck and the University of Vienna, and he is the author of a manual on violin playing.

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