Holliger, Heinz, outstanding Swiss oboist, conductor, pedagogue, and composer; b. Langenthal, May 21, 1939. He commenced playing the recorder at 4 and the piano at 6. He studied oboe with Cassagnaud and composition with Veress at the Bern Cons., then oboe with Pierlot and piano with Lefébure at the Paris Cons. In 1959 he won 1st prize in the Geneva competition, and then played in the Basel Sym. Orch., and also attended Boulez’s master classes in composition in Basel (1961–63). After winning 1st prize in the Munich competition in 1961, he embarked upon a brilliant international career; toured in Europe and the U.S. as soloist with the Lucerne Festival Strings in 1962. He also gave concerts with his wife, the harpist Ursula Hanggi, and his own Holliger Ensemble. In addition to giving master classes, he was a prof, at the Freiburg im Breisgau Hochschule für Musik (from 1965). He is generally recognized as the foremost oboist of his era, his mastery extending from early music to the commissioned works of such modern composers as Penderecki, Henze, Stock-hausen, Krenek, Ber io, Joli vet, and Lutoslawski. In his own works, he is an uncompromising avant- gardist.
dramatic:Der magische Tänzer for 2 Singers, 2 Dancers, 2 Actors, Chorus, Orch., and Tape (1963-65; Basel, April 26, 1970); Come and Go/Va et vient/Kommen und Gehen, chamber opera, after Samuel Beckett (1976-77; Hamburg, Feb. 16, 1978); Not I, monodrama for Soprano and Tape, after Beckett (1978-80; Avignon, July 15, 1980); What Where, chamber opera, after Beckett (1988; Frankfurt am Main, May 19, 1989); Schneewittchen, opera (Zürich, Oct. 17, 1998). ORCH.: Elis—Drei Nachtstücke (1963; rev. 1973; Basel, May 3, 1973); Siebengesang for Oboe, Orch., Voices, and Loudspeakers (1966-67; Rotterdam, June 17, 1968); Pneuma for Winds, Percussion, Organ, and Radios (Donaueschingen, Oct. 18, 1970); Atembogen (1974-75; Basel, June 6, 1975); Scardanelli-Zyklus III: Übungen zu Scardanelli for Small Orch. and Tape (1978–85) and IV: Ostinato funèbre for Small Orch. (1991); Ad marginem for Chamber Orch. and Tape (1983; Baden- Baden, March 8, 1985); Engführung for Chamber Orch. (1983-84; Donaueschingen, Oct. 19, 1985); Der ferne Klang for Chamber Orch. and Tape (1983-84; Donaueschingen, Oct. 19, 1985); Schaufelrad for Chamber Orch. and 4 to 5 Women’s Voices ad libitum (1983-84; Donaueschingen, Oct. 19, 1985); Turm-Musik for Flute, Small Orch., and Tape (1984; Basel, Jan. 17, 1985); Tonscherben,”Orchester-Fragmente in memoriam David Rokeah” (Geneva, Sept. 26, 1985); Zwei Liszt-Transkriptionen (1986; Basel, Feb. 12, 1987); Ostinato funebre for Small Orch. (1991); (S)irat’ó’: Monodie (1993); Violin Concerto (1993-95; Lausanne, Nov. 16, 1995). CHAMBER: Mobile for Oboe and Harp (1962); Trio for Oboe or English Horn, Viola, and Harp (1966); h for Wind Quintet (1968); Cardiophonie for Oboe and 3 Magnetophones (1971); String Quartet (1973); Chaconne for Cello (1975); (t)air(e) for Flute (1980–83); Studie II for Oboe (1981); Trema for Viola or Cello (1981; also for Violin, 1983); Duo I (1982; Baden-Baden, May 10, 1983) and II (1988–94) for Violin and Cello; Vier Lieder ohne Worte I (1982-83; Saarbrücken, May 17, 1985) and II (1985–94) for Violin and Piano; Praeludium, Arioso und Passacaglia for Harp (1987); Felicity’s Shake-Wag for Violin and Cello (1988); Quintet for Piano and Winds (1989); Sonate (in) solit(air)e for Flute (1995-96; Tokyo, July 28, 1997); piano pieces; organ music.VOCAL: Glühende Rätsel for Alto and 10 Instrumentalists (1964); Dona Nobis Pacem for 12 Voices (1968–69); Psalm for Chorus (1971); Scardanelli-Zyklus I: Die Jahreszeiten for Chorus (1975); Gesänge der Frühe for Chorus, Orch., and Tape (1987; Cologne, March 4, 1988); Dunkle Spiegel for Vocal Quintet, Baritone, and 5 Instrumental Groups (Frieburg im Breisgau, Nov. 20, 1996).
A. Landau, ed., H. H.: Komponist, Oboist, Dirigent (Zürich, 1996).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire