December 05, 2014

Nikolaus Harnoncourt celebrates his 85th birthday this week

The Austrian maestro and period-instrument pioneer received ECHO Klassik's Lifetime Achievement Award this year.

He has led his ground-breaking period-instrument ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien for more than sixty years; his complete Bach Cantata cycle for Teldec is one of the great achievements of classical music on record, and maestro Nikolaus Harnoncourt shows no signs of slowing down as he celebrates his 85th birthday this weekend on 6 December.

Warner Classics rings in the new year celebrating the Austrian conductor's accomplishments, with the latest album in the ever-popular Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert series to hit shelves 2 January, 2015. The new disc captures Harnoncourt at the podium of this major annual Viennese society event in 2001 and 2003 (alongside Riccardo Muti's 1997 and 2000 stints).

Earlier this year, ECHO Klassik awarded Harnoncourt its Lifetime Achievement Award. "We are pleased to honour, in Nikolaus Harnoncourt, an outstanding personality who has made an enormous contribution to the field of classical music and has repeatedly set new benchmarks", said Dr. Florian Drücke, Managing Director of the German Music Industry Association.

It was a great year for Harnoncourt on disc, with the release of a boxed set dedicated to his pioneering Monteverdi opera trilogy of 1968-74, featuring the redoutable Cathy Berberian and sounding as fresh and lively as ever.

So how has the maestro chosen to spend his 85th birthday? On 6 December he'll be conducting Haydn's Die Schöpfung with his Concentus Musicus Wien on home turf at the famous Musikverein. Here's to many more concerts with one of the most outstanding conductors of our time.