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I was merely 15 years old when I left my little hometown of Kufstein in the tyrolean Alps to pursue my dream of becoming a musician, studying in the music Mecca Vienna. Having been raised in the mountainous part of Austria, I felt that I had lots of catching up to do and therefore attended concerts or the opera pretty much every evening. Early on, I developed a deep appreciation and love for chamber music and quickly acquired season tickets for, what at the time were the two Viennese string quartets (the Konzerthaus-Quartet and the Musikverein-Quartet) as well the concert series for the international string quartets performing in Vienna. While I fundamentally appreciated the Viennese Quartets of that time (both of which consisted of members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra), it became obvious to me quickly, that the international Quartets (such as the Amadeus, Julliard, Quartetto Italiano, La Salle, Hungarian, Smetana Quartet and others) performed at a superior level as they solely focused their careers on chamber music. It is of interest that, with only one exception, Vienna never had a string quartet that exclusively devoted itself to playing string quartet. My fascination and love for the literature of string quartet grew steadily and I finally decided to found a string quartet that would exclusively focus on quartet literature. Vienna, the cradle of chamber music, should become home to a new Viennese string quartet of the highest quality and with international acclaim.

As my professional life as concertmaster of the two great Viennese orchestras, the Vienna Symphony and the Vienna Philharmonic, came to an end, I began to concentrate on solo and chamber music literature. I had played in a duo with the pianist Heinz Medjimorec (who became the pianist of the Haydn Trio and afterwards one of the most notable piano teachers at our university) for over ten years. Furthermore, I played a wide range of solo concerts (with Michael Gielen and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra among others) and was concertmaster of a chamber orchestra called the Vienna Soloists. With this orchestra I travelled around the world and made many recordings. During this time I gained valuable experience as a musician and became familiar with the leading personalities in the management and recording industries, something which would later be of great use in building the career of the Alban Berg Quartet.

At the age of thirty, my dream came true and I was able to found a quartet. During a year of intensive preparation we met Walter Levine of the La Salle Quartet, who's guidance and suggestions were invaluable. Soon after, we made our debut in the Vienna Konzerthaus. The title of our first review in the Viennese press read: 'A wonder named Alban Berg Quartet.' That was the beginning of a fantastic career. For almost forty years, from 1970 to 2008, the Alban Berg Quartet was, alongside my teaching commitments, the focus of my career and the artistic fulfilment of my life.

With this success came a responsibility to understand the composer and to interpret his oeuvre accordingly. We were delighted that many contemporary composers not only wrote works for us but enjoyed our interpretations and supported us throughout our careers. In the 1980s, Pierre Boulez invited us to his Paris cycle, 'Passage du 20ieme siècle' to perform quartets of the Viennese School and later helped us to establish our own cycle at the Royal Festival Hall (Queen Elizabeth Hall) in London. After the debut performance of his fourth quartet, Alfred Schnittke dedicated this work to us. Luciano Berio told us, after the debut performance of his 'Notturno': “Dear friends, I am forever grateful for your “Notturno” I hope that these small changes are not a problem. I will be in New York. Warmest greatings Luciano”. Witold Lutoslawski thanked us after the performance of his quartet with the following words: “Personally I owe the Alban Berg quartet deep gratitude for an unforgettable event.They played my quartet in Vienna last year in a way that will probably never be equalled.” and issued a statement which has become very dear to our hearts: “The Alban Quartet is without doubt one of the greatest quartets of our time. Their recording of the complete Beethoven quartet cycle is a masterpiece which will serve as a beacon for generations of quartets to come. The Art of Interpretation of the Alban Berg Quartet is universal. Inspiration and perfection, imagination and faithfulness to the partition, great style and perfect taste, everything is there in their playing.”

One of the most important events for the Alban Berg Quartet was the memorial concert for Thomas in 2006 in the Main Hall of the Vienna Konzerthaus. Many musician and singer colleagues performed, including Angelika Kirchschlager, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Helmut Deutsch, Erwin Arditti, Magdalena Kožena, Thomas Quasthoff, Alois Posch, Heinrich Schiff and Sir Simon Rattle. An orchestra consisting of friends of the quartet, former students and friends of the Vienna Philharmonic, was conducted by Claudio Abbado.