The Viennese-born conductor and pianist Manfred Huss is a musician of rare stature. Anchored in the twentieth century as much as in historical performing practice, he is an unorthodox artist: stylish, analytical and yet spontaneous, an energetic perfectionist with an effervescent feeling for the best kind of music-making. His orchestra, the Haydn Sinfonietta of Vienna, is one of Europe’s leading period-instrument ensembles.
Initially, however, Manfred made a career as a pianist after having studied with Alexander Jenner in Vienna: “As if he wants to inherit Friedrich Gulda’s career while he is still alive”, wrote Das Orchester. As early as 1978 Manfred made his international recording debut with Schubert´s Sonata in B flat D 960 (Preiser Records), followed by LPs with works by Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms. Since the late 1980s – inspired by Robbins Landon – Manfred has focused his piano-playing on historical pianofortes, performing a great deal of chamber music as well as playing and conducting concertos by Mozart and Beethoven from the keyboard.
At the age of 17, Manfred was accepted to study conducting with the legendary Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. The most important factor in Manfred’s choice of teacher was the fact that Swarowsky represented the great musical tradition of Central Europe, having had direct links with such composers as Strauss, Schoenberg, Hindemith, Bartok, Stravinsky, and even Mahler. In 1984 Manfred started his own chamber orchestra, which in 1991 developed into the Haydn Sinfonietta Wien playing on period instruments under the leadership of Simon Standage, who remains the orchestra’s regular concert master today.
Concerts have taken Manfred to major European cities, among them Prague, Ascona (Festival), Evian (Festival), Bonn (Beethovenfest), Linz (Brucknerfest), Prades (Casals Festival), London (Barbican Hall / Wigmore Hall), Frankfurt (Alte Oper), Brussels (Opéra de la Monnaie / Société Philharmonique), Paris (Châtelet), Avignon, Milano, Vienna (Musikverein), Oxford (Sheldonian) and Budapest, but also to Istanbul or New York City. He has conducted orchestras such as the City of London Sinfonia, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Tonkünstler Orchester Niederösterreich, the UNAM Philharmonic of Mexico, the Camerata Coahuila, the Polish Chamber Philharmonic, the Belgrade Philharmonic and the Macedonian Philharmonic.
Following his conducting studies, Manfred edited Hans Swarowsky´s writings on conducting and interpretation, which were published under the title Wahrung der Gestalt by Universal Edition in 1979. In recent years Manfred has extended his activities on this front by giving lectures and conducting masterclasses in Vienna and Lucerne. Having always been fascinated by the search for authentic information about eighteenth-century performance practice, Manfred is also the author of the first modern German-language monograph on Haydn.
As early as 1992 a major recording contract (Koch-Schwann) resulted in sensational discoveries of previously unperformed and unrecorded works by Haydn. Since 2007 Manfred has recorded exclusively for BIS Records (www.bis.se), with whom he has brought out more than 20 CDs that have received an overwhelming international press echo. In 2016, Manfred Huss released a CD with Mozart’s “Salzburg Symphonies”, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Haydn Sinfonietta Wien.
pianist • conductor
“The Sinfonietta and Huss are Haydn experts and can certainly be counted among the best, possibly even the best …”
(Music Web International)
That an infinite amount of music exists behind such a crumbling front is one of the great secrets of Alban Berg, and that this is played free and not dissected is eloquent evidence for Huss’ … understanding of this dark and agitated, seemingly romantic world of sound.
“Haydn, always great … Manfred Huss conducts with contagious vigour and profound musicality. … The result: almost six hours of the most exquisite Haydn, a music of unfailing grandeur.”