Haydn Quartett / Rudolf Leopold
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Carl Goldmark, Jewish composer of Hungaro-Austrian descent, practically never in his youth received comprehensive musical training, which may be why he only at the age of 30, around the year 1860, gained public attention as a composer with his string quartet Op. 8. Foregone has a period of intense self-study of counterpoint and works by Bach and Beethoven. Two years later, Goldmarks string quintet Op. 9 premiered, though being thought of as too bold for the taste of the audience, hence its performance was refused by Ferdinand David, concert master of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, after having made some unpleasant experiences with the string sextet by Brahms. The Haydn Quartet, for more than 20 years «quartet in residence» in Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt, is being supported by outstanding cellist and professor Rudolph Leopold.
From its seat in the castle, the Haydn Quartet with Fritz Kircher, Martin Kocsis, Gerswind Olthoff and Nikolai New undertake extended tours in nearly every country of Europe as well as in Asia and America. The Quartet has played in Carnegie Hall in New York and has performed several times in the famous National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing. On its frequent Far East tours it has given concerts in, among other places, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, at the Macau Festival and most recently at the Music Conservatory in Beijing where its members also gave master classes. On the occasion of the Haydn Jubilee Year in 2009, the quartet held a cycle of 18 concerts in the Imperial Church of St. Michael in Vienna with all 69 string quartets by Joseph Haydn. Among its CDs are performances with the cellist Rudolf Leopold and the soprano Cornelia Horak. Live recordings by the musicians have included for the radio stations Bartók Rádió (Hungary), ORF, NDR, Zagreb, Beijing and Macao. In recent years, the Haydn Quartet has increasingly devoted itself to contemporary music, giving composer-portraits and first performances in collaboration with, among others, Austrian Radio. In 2012, recording of the String Quartet No. 1 by Daniel Smutny on the invitation of the German Music Council.
Born in Vienna, Rudolf Leopold studied violoncello, piano and composition at the local Academy of Music and Performing Arts. As he has been a member of the legendary Vienna String Sextet for 25 years, he still gives the field of chamber music top priority. He is also still a solo cellist in Nikolaus Harnoncourt's «Concentus Musicus». Rudolf Leopold used to lecture on chamber music at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna and since 1990, he became full professor for violoncello at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz.