Heinz Holliger was born in 1939 in Langenthal in the Canton of Bern. In Bern, Paris, and Basel he studied oboe (with Émile Cassagnaud and Pierre Pierlot), piano (with Sava Savoff and Yvonne Lefébure), and composition (with Sándor Veress and Pierre Boulez). His international career as an oboist, which has taken him to the major music centers around the world, began in 1959, when he won first prize at the International Music Competition in Geneva; in 1961 he also emerged as victor at the ARD Music Competition in Munich – and made his debut at the Internationale Musikfestwochen Luzern, which later became known as LUCERNE FESTIVAL. Heinz Holliger has expanded the playing techniques of his instrument and continues to focus intensively on contemporary music, as well as on works that are not as well known. Numerous composers, among them Henze, Ligeti, and Lutosławski, have dedicated new scores to him. In 1977 Holliger began his conducting career, which soon took him to the most renowned orchestras, such as the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and the Philharmonia Orchestra. He has also enjoyed a long-term partnership with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. The works of Heinz Holliger were featured in 1998 when he was composer-in-residence at the IMF Luzern. In 2002 his opera Schneewittchen was premiered in Zurich, where Lunea, his setting of scenes from Lenau, will also be produced in 2018. Holliger has received numerous distinctions, including the Sonning Music Prize (1987), the Frankfurt Music Prize (1988), the Siemens Music Prize (1991), the Premio Abbiati of the Biennale di Venezia (1995), the Zurich Festival Prize (2007), and, most recently, the Robert Schumann Prize (2017). Since 2016 he has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 31 August 1961 as oboe soloist in the Passacaglia concertante by Sándor Veress, with Rudolf Baumgartner conducting the Lucerne Festival Strings.