The great choral conductor Erwin Ortner (1947) was born in Vienna. He was a member Wiener Sängerknaben (Vienna Boys’ Choir ) under Ferdinand Grossmann. He studied at the former Vienna Academy of Music and Performing Arts, now known as the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts (Musical Pedagogics, Sacred Music, Orchestral Conducting under Hans Swarowsky, Choral Conducting (under Hans Gillesberger). He also took organ lessons with Hans Haselböck.

In 1972 he founded the famous Arnold Schoenberg Choir – an ensemble that specialises in the performance of contemporary music on the one hand and the great choral works of the Baroque on the other. He developed a lively and fruitful collaboration with the conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt and his ensemble Concentus Musicus Wien, which lasted more than four decades. It is acknowledged by numerous recordings and accolades, such as the 2002 Grammy Award in the category of Best Choral Performance for the recording of J. S. Bach’s Matthäus Passion. This category honors the orchestra conductor and choir director.

Since 1980 Erwin Ortner has been Professor for Choral Conducting and Choral Voice Training and since 1996   – a Dean of the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, serving as such for six years (1996-2002).

From 1979 to 1983 he was president of the Austrian Singers’ Association. From 1983 to 1995 he was artistic director of the Vienna Radio Choir (dissolved 1995). In 2010 he became artistic director of the “Wiener Hofmusikkapelle” founded in 1498.

Aside from his work as a conductor and chorus master, Erwin Ortner is also sought after internationally as a lecturer and adjudicator for master-classes in orchestral and choral conducting. He has already visited Bulgaria – he peformed with the Arnold Schoenberg Choir and led a masterclass at the “March Music Days” International Festival in Ruse in 2006.

Maestro’s conducting projects have taken him to New York, Paris, Tokyo, Rome and Salzburg, where he has performed with Maurizio Pollini. As a guest conductor he is regularly invited to work with leading orchestras, opera houses, festivals and concert halls, including the RSO-Vienna, Camerata Salzburg, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Theater an der Wien, Salzburg Festival, Mozartwoche Salzburg, Musikverein Vienna and the Vienna Konzerthaus.) His frequent appearances as a guest conductor demonstrates his manifold activities both throughout Austria and abroad..

Erwin Ortner received numerous awards for the Integral, which he recorded with secular choral works by Franz Schubert in 1997. As a choir director and conductor, he co-founded the International Church Music Week “Laudate Dominum”, which has been held annually every winter since 1982. The Maestro has been a heartfelt promoter of choral music – in 1988 he founded a fund that awards the Erwin Ortner Prize to choral conductors and choral composers each year.

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