Kolja Blacher studied at the Juilliard School of Music with Dorothy DeLay and with Sandor Vegh in Salzburg. After six years with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Blacher left the orchestra to perform as a soloist all over the world, with orchestras such as Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, NDR Symphony, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia and Baltimore Symphony. He has worked with conductors including Kirill Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski, Dimitri Kitajenko, Mariss Jansons, Matthias Pintscher, Markus Stenz.
Blacher’s programmatic spectrum comprises works for solo violin from Johann Sebastian Bach to Luciano Berio, the classical romantic core repertoire, and contemporary music for violin and orchestra (including works by, Kurt Weill, Hans Werner Henze, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Magnus Lindberg). Open to new concert experiences, he gave the German premiere of Brett Dean’s “Electric Preludes“ and in doing so, became acquainted with the six-string e-violin. In autumn 2013, Blacher will record Schönberg’s violin concerto together with the Gürzenich Orchestra under Markus Stenz.
In the past five years “Play-Lead” concerts have become the new focus in Blacher’s artistic activities; as a leader – both as a soloist and from the concertmaster’s chair – he worked regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Festival Strings Lucerne, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Bern, Dresden Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Komische Oper in Berlin. This new form of performance practice, increasing sought after, has led to upcoming concerts in St. Antonio and Kuala Lumpur. It is also part of Blacher’s role as the Duisburg Phil’s Artist in Residence in the 2014/15 season.
Additional upcoming highlights include projects with Michael Schønwandt (Staatsorchester Stuttgart), Vladimir Jurowski (Konzerthausorchester Berlin) and Vladimir Ashkenazy (Melbourne Symphony Orchestra).
Blacher has recorded highly acclaimed CDs, garnering awards such as the Diapason d’Or. Several of those were produced in collaboration with Claudio Abbado, with whom he has maintained close ties since their time at the Berlin Philharmonic and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. His latest recording of Beethoven’s “Kreutzer“-Sonata, arranged for violin and chamber orchestra, and the “Concerto Grosso“ of Søren Nils Eichberg, together with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, was released in 2012.
Kolja Blacher was a professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg before returning to his hometown of Berlin, where he teaches at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler. A born and bred Berliner – his father was the Baltic-German composer Boris Blacher – Kolja Blacher lives with his family in Berlin.
He plays a 1730 “Tritton” Stradivari, generously on loan from Ms Kimiko Powers.
As of June 2016