Concentus Musicus Wien (CMW) is an Austrian baroque music ensemble based in Vienna. The CMW is recognized as a progenitor of the period-instrument performance movement.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Alice Harnoncourt co-founded the CMW in 1953, along with several musicians from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. The CMW did research and rehearsal for 4 years before their first official concert;although the ensemble made its 'unofficial' debut at the Konzerthaus, Vienna in 1954 with a production of Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo , the CMW's first public concert was in May 1957 at the Schwarzenberg Palace in Vienna. The CMW gave a regular concert series at the Schwarzenberg Palace from 1958 to 1962. The CMW made its formal debut in the Mozart-Saal of the Vienna Konzerthaus in February 1962, and performed concerts regularly there until 1971. The CMW staged its first opera at the 1971 Wiener Festwochen with Monteverdi's Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria . The CMW's first concert at the Musikverein , Vienna, was in 1973. The orchestra has continued to perform regularly at the Musikverein since then. Nikolaus Harnoncourt directed the ensemble from the cello until 1987, and subsequently led the CMW as its conductor and artistic director.
The CMW has performed at European music festivals in such cities as Salzburgand Lucerne, as well as the styriarte festival in Graz which Harnoncourt founded. The CMW first toured North America in 1966, including its Boston debut for the Peabody Mason Concert series. Subsequent American tours followed in 1968 and in 1971.
Nikolaus Harnoncourt retired from the CMW and from conducting in general in December 2015. In parallel with her husband's retirement, Alice Harnoncourt retired from the CMW. In succession to Alice Harnoncourt, the current leader of the ensemble (concertmaster) is Erich Höbarth. In succession to Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the CMW's current artistic leader is the harpsichordist Stefan Gottfried. The ensemble's current manager is Maximilian Harnoncourt, grandson of Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt.
The CMW made their first recording in 1962, of music for viols by Henry Purcell, for the Telefunken label.This recording began a long recording relationship with Telefunken, later Teldec, that continued into the 1990s. Among the CMW's recording projects with Telefunken and Teldec was their participation in the complete cycle of cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach, over the period from 1971 to 1990. The cantatas were split between two conductors, on the one hand the CMW and Harnoncourt, and on the other Gustav Leonhardt and the Leonhardt-Consort. In addition to their long series of recordings for Telefunken and Teldec, the CMW has made commercial recordings for other labels such as Deutsche Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical. The CMW's final commercial recordings with Nikolaus Harnoncourt were two recordings of music of Ludwig van Beethoven, the 4th and 5th Symphonies and the Missa solemnis , the latter being Harnoncourt's final recording.
Johann Nikolaus Harnoncourt or historically Johann Nikolaus Graf de la Fontaine und d'Harnoncourt-Unverzagt; was an Austrian conductor, particularly known for his historically informed performances of music from the Classical era and earlier. Starting out as a classical cellist, he founded his own period instrument ensemble, Concentus Musicus Wien, in the 1950s, and became a pioneer of the Early Music movement. Around 1970, Harnoncourt started to conduct opera and concert performances, soon leading renowned international symphony orchestras, and appearing at leading concert halls, operatic venues and festivals. His repertoire then widened to include composers of the 19th and 20th centuries. In 2001 and 2003, he conducted the Vienna New Year's Concert. Harnoncourt was also the author of several books, mostly on subjects of performance history and musical aesthetics.
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Teldec is a German record label in Hamburg, Germany. Today the label is a property of Warner Music Group.
Alice Harnoncourt is an Austrian classical violinist.
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J. S. Bach - Das Kantatenwerk is a classical music recording project initiated by the record label of Telefunken in 1971 to record all 193 sacred Bach cantatas. The project was entrusted to Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Gustav Leonhardt. Each conductor had his own instrumental ensemble, based in Austria and the Netherlands respectively.
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