String Quartet of the Vienna Philharmonic, Austria, 2016

Tour Dates: 15th May - 22nd May, 2016

The string quartet consists of four key figures of Vienna Philharmonic, such as Chairman of the orchestra and principle players.

Tour Dates
  • 15th May - 22nd May, 2016

15th May, 2016, 19:30, National Center for the Performing Arts
18th May, 2016, 19:45, Shanghai Oriental Art Cente
19th May, 2016, 20:00, Guangzhou Xinghai Concert Hall
21st May, 2016, 19:30, Tianjin Grand Theater

The string quartet consists of four key figures of Vienna Philharmonic, such as Chairman of the orchestra and principle players. Their music reflects the originality of Austria, e.g. in the repertoire of Hayden, Schubert, J. Strauss Sr., etc., and their supreme interpretation embodies the nobility which has been passed down from the times of these great composers.

Host: Clemens Hellsberg

Clemens Hellsberg, former chairman of Vienna Philharmonic, now still plays in the first violin section. As a renowned musicologist, he also wrote disc text for the numerous recordings of Vienna Philharmonic. In addition, he completed Demokratie der Konige (The Democracy of the Kings), a well-received book documented the 173 years of history of the orchestra. Mr. Hellsberg will also join the China tour of the string quartet and host pre-concert talk for the audience. With the effort of Wu Promotion, from 2017 on Vienna Philharmonic will have an annual tour in Greater China for five consecutive years, and the string quartet will take the touring opportunity in 2016 and select some young talented musicians from China, the winners of whom will be candidates to cooperate with Vienna Philharmonic in the future.

Volkhard Steude, first violin

Volkhard Steude (violin) was born in 1971 and began violin studies from 5 years of age at the Konservatorium Cottbus in Brandenburg in the former East German Democratic Republic. In 1987 he placed second in the East German youth competition and from 1988 began his higher education at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin under the tutelage of Joachim Scholz and Professor Werner Scholz, during which he won a number of international competitions. In 1993 he became the first concertmaster of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra and after acquiring his Diplom degree in Berlin in March 1994, continued his studies in Vienna under Professor Alfred Staar.

In November 1994 Volkhard Steude was appointed concertmaster of the Orchesters der Wiener Staatsoper, and in 2000 was also named concertmaster of the Wiener Philharmoniker. As a soloist, he has performed with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Giuseppe Sinopoli , Daniel Barenboim, Tugan Sokhiev and Andriss Nelsons and his other numerous solo performances in Europe and Japan include the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Triple Concerto, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E minor and Double Concerto in D minor, the Mozart Violin Concertos in A major and D major, the Sinfonia Concertante as well as Violin Concertos by Sibelius and Tchaikovsky, much of which was recorded live for radio broadcasts and/or CD releases. 

Mr. Steude also has served between 2002 - 2012 as concertmaster of the Wiener Virtuosen, a chamber music ensemble comprised of members of the Wiener Philharmoniker. Later that year he founded the Steude Quartet, their performances of which have attracted much attention at the Viennese Music Association regular subscription concerts and during their regular tours throughout Europe and Japan between 2002 - 2015. ‎

Volkhard Steude performs on a 1714 Antonius Stradivarius (ex Smith - Querson) which is on loan from the Oesterreichische Nationalbank (the central bank of the Republic of Austria).

Andreas Großbauer, second violin

Andreas Großbauer was born in Graz in 1974 and began his musical training at the age of five on the violin. At the age of twelve he was admitted to the University of Music in Graz. After the first level of study he continued with Alfred Staar, a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, in Oberschützen and Vienna. His education was augmented by various master classes and extensive chamber music activity. Großbauer received his first orchestral experience with the Symphony Orchestra of Graz and as the concertmaster of the Orchestra Seminar of the Vienna Philharmonic in Attergau.

Andreas Großbauer became a substitute at the Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic in December 1998. After a successful audition in May 2001 he was engaged as a first violinist with the Vienna Symphony. At the same time he became a member of the Philharmonia Schrammeln Wien, which for decades has performed a well-known concert series at the Musikverein in Vienna. Großbauer performed in this ensemble for ten years and is in possession of the Pilat violin once owned by Johann Schrammel.

In 2005 Großbauer joined the first violin section of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. In 2007 the orchestra elected him as director of the Philharmonic Ball. Since then he has organized the orchestra's annual ball in the Musikverein and established a ball committee comprised of Rotraut Konrad, Madleine Rohla-Strauss (great-granddaughter of Richard Strauss), Vienna State Opera Director Dominique Meyer and Federal Minister Rudolf Hundstorfer.

Andreas Großbauer is also a member of the Vienna Chamber Ensemble, an octet formed by the former Philharmonic concertmaster Gerhart Hetzel.

On June 11, 2014, Großbauer was elected to be the successor to Dr. Clemens Hellsberg as Chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic. Großbauer plays on a violin owned by the Philharmonic, which was built by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in Paris in 1830 and used by the orchestra's former concertmaster and chairman, Walter Barylli.

Tobias Lea, viola

Born in Adelaide, Australia, Tobias Lea is one of a family of three musicians. His twin brother Benedict is a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and his sister Elinor is Associate Concertmaster with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Tobias began playing the violin at the age of 5. Aged 12 he began violin studies with Ronald Woodcock at the University of Adelaide’s Elder Conservatorium. During his studies for his Bachelor of Music (Performance) degree, Tobias worked with the South Australian Opera Orchestra and the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra. He graduated in 1986 and immediately left for Vienna to continue his studies, changing from violin to viola. After four years of intensive study at the renowned Vienna “Hochschule für Musik”, with Prof. Siegfried Führlinger, he won the position of Principal Viola of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan under Riccardo Muti. During the following four years he learned a great part of the opera repertoire and was also invited to join the Quartetto della Scala, giving concerts around the world.

In 1994 Tobias joined his brother Benedict in the combined Vienna Philharmonic and Austrian State Opera Orchestra, winning the position of Principal Viola, which he has held for the past 20 years. He simultaneously took up a teaching position as assistant to his former professor at the Vienna “Hochschule für Musik”. He continues his lively interest in chamber music, playing with the Vienna Chamber Ensemble amongst various other groups. His extensive experience as a soloist includes performances in 2005 and 2006 of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante with concertmaster Rainer Honeck, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Riccardo Muti, in Vienna, Tokyo, New York, Cleveland, Mexico City and Toronto. In 2008 he performed the Viola Concerto by Bartók with the Vienna Philharmonic, again directed by Riccardo Muti, in Vienna’s Golden Musikverein Hall.

Working with students is a particular passion for Tobias, and he has held masterclasses all over Europe, as well as in Japan, South East Asia, India, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Since 2005 Tobias is a member of the Vienna Hofmusikkapelle.

Tamas Varga, cello

Tamás Varga was born in Budapest in 1969 and began studying the cello tuition at the age of seven. In 1992 he completed a degree with honors at the Franz Liszt Academy of Music, where his teachers included László Mezö, Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág.

Mr. Varga was highly influenced by such artists like Miklós Perényi, Menahem Pressler and Uzi Wiesel, the last of whom received Varga as a scholarship student in Tel Aviv.

Tamás Varga is Principal Cellist of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as the Vienna State Opera. A regular soloist with VPO, he performed under Giuseppe Sinopoli, Zubin Mehta, Seiji Ozawa, Michael Tilson-Thomas, Christoph Eschenbach, Adam Fischer. In addition to his 2003 BBC Proms debut at London’s Royal Albert Hall, Mr.Varga has appeared in numerous solo and chamber music engagements across Europe, Canada, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

Mr. Varga is also an enthusiastic chamber musician. As a member of Wiener Collage, the Breughel Ensemble and Wiener Kammerensemble, he regularly appears in the Wiener Konzerthaus and Salzburg Festival, among other European venues. He has collaborated with such artists as Hildegard Behrens, Marjana Lipovsek, Ferenc Bognár, Philippe Entremont, Zoltán Kocsis, Tamás Vásáry, Karl Leister, Peter Schmidl, Wolfgang Schulz and the Bartók-Quartett.

Tamás Varga particularly enjoys playing music on original instruments, and has performed the Haydn and some of the Vivaldi and C.P.E.Bach cello concertos with Orfeo Orchestra Budapest. In 2004 he presented and recorded the complete Bach solo suites, the sixth of which he performed on a five stringed Baroque instrument. An avid teacher, Mr. Varga has given master classes in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Australia, USA as well as South Africa. He served as a tutor for the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, for the New World Symphony as well as for the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and was teaching at the International Orchestra Institute in Attergau, Austria for several years.

In the last years, Tamás Varga has recorded more than 20 CDs for labels such as Camerata Tokyo, Naxos, Hungaroton, King Records, Cavalli Records.