René Clemencic is a composer, conductor, virtuoso flautist and clavichordist, harpsichordist and organist, director and founder of a world-famous ensemble for early music (the Clemencic Consort), musicologist and writer, philosopher, as well as a collector of emblematic books and sculptures.
Born on 27 February 1928 in Vienna, he is a true child of the Danube metropolis. His ancestors came from Istria, Slovenia, Moravia and Poland. He is a direct descendant on his mother’s side of the creator of modern textual criticism, the German philologist Karl Lachmann. At home he always spoke Italian with his father, a notary, and German with his mother.
He received his formal education in Vienna, then went on to study philosophy and musicology at the
Sorbonne and the Collège de France in Paris, and again at the University of Vienna, where he obtained
his doctorate in 1956. During the same time he studied music -- the recorder, harpsichord, and
Hindemith's music theory with H.H. Staeps in Vienna; harpsichord with E. Harich-Schneider in Vienna;
Collegium Musicum with J. Mertin in Vienna; the recorder with J. Collette in Nijmegen (Holland), L.
Höffer v. Winterfeld and W. Nitschke in Berlin; Formal Analysis with E. Ratz in Vienna; Theory of
Music with Arnold Schönberg's friend and pupil J. Polnauer in Vienna, and J.M. Hauer's Dodecaphonic
Theory with J. Schwieger in Vienna.
Ever since the late 1950s he has appeared in solo concerts as recorder virtuoso, and with his
ensemble, the Clemencic Consort, playing music ranging from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance to the
Baroque and Avantgarde, travelling to concert venues all over Europe, the African countries, North
and South America, Asia, and Australia.
For the past 30 seasons he has been responsible for the organization of his own series of concerts
dedicated to early music at the renowned Musikverein in Vienna, this current season with programmes
ranging from Obrecht and Willaert (15th/16th c.) to Marco Uccellini (17th c.) and Antonio Vivaldi
Clemencic appears in more than 100 record and CD productions, both as soloist and conductor of his
own ensemble, as well as with other orchestras. Many of these recordings were awarded international
prizes, such as Edison, Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, Prix Cécilia, etc.
Due to his tireless research activity René Clemencic with his ensemble has made many Medieval and
Renaissance works accessible to the modern audience for the first time in concert. These include,
e.g. Carmina Burana, Ludus Danielis, "Filius Getronis", "Cantigas de Santa Maria", "Le Roman de
Fauvel", masses by Dufay, Obrecht, Ockeghem, Isaac, Josquin. He is specialized in Baroque music
and the Viennese Sepolcro. Stage productions of the Clemencic Consort include "Euridice" (Peri),
"Il lutto dell' Universo" (Emperor Leopold the First), "L'Eternità soggetta al Tempo" (Draghi),
"L'Orfeo" (Sartorio), "Assalone Punito" (Ziani), "Narciso" (Scarlatti), "L'Olimpiade" (Vivaldi),
"Testoride Argonauta" (de Sousa Carvalho), "Dafne in Lauro" (Fux), "La Purpura de la Rosa" (Torrejon
y Velasco). The last-mentioned five Baroque operas were the subject of a tour de force performance
all within 10 days at the Paris Théatre des Champs-Elysées.
As a recorder soloist, René Clemencic has played works ranging from Medieval to Avantgarde music,
presenting them as a rule with his own introductory words and commentary. In his program "Flauto
Magico" he plays more than twenty different flutes and recorders. For several years now, he has
devoted his attention to performing the vast literature for the clavichord.
He has taught the subjects "The recorder as a virtuoso instrument", "Musical ornamentation",
"Musical notation of the Middle Ages and the Baroque", and "Philosophy of music" at the Vienna
Academy of Music and has conducted many international summer courses and seminars all over Europe
and the United States. In April 2001, he held seminars in China on the invitation of
the Shanghai Music Conservatory.
His publications include "Old musical instruments" (Weidenfeld, London), "Carmina Burana"
(Artemis, Munich), and countless articles for music journals.
In his compositions, Clemencic's main concern is the symbolism of sound, not solely aesthetics.
"I attempt to use sounds and sound complexes as acoustic symbols and cyphers for inner experiences
and discoveries. Sounds and sound gestures must achieve their magical effects as such. It is not the
completion of an opus as an artefact, that interests me, the composition for its own sake, but rather
the disclosure of certain hidden semantics of the sonorous."
To name just a few of Clemencic's compositions: the oratorio in Hebrew language "Kabbala" saw its
premiere in 1992 at the European Mittelfest in Italy. In 1993, the scenic representation of the
ballet pantomime "Le combat du dragon" took place at the Vienna Jesuit Church. His important oratorio
with original old Greek text "Apokalypsis" was first performed and highly acclaimed at the famous
Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein in 1996. His works were performed in London, Nancy, at the
Festival de Wallonie, Festival d'Evreux, Breslau Festival of Avantgarde Music, Adelaide Festival,
Leningrad Festival for Contemporary Music, at the Scala, Milan, the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, at
the Salzburg Festival, etc.
During the past concert season Clemencic conducted the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, furthermore
the Baroque Orchestra in Naples (Italy), concerts for the Swiss Radio, etc.
René Clemencic has been honored with many national and international awards.
Dr. René Clemencic
Reisnerstrasse 26 / 7
Tel.: +43 (1) 712 53 41
Fax: +43 (1) 712 50 20
| Office / Administration
Tel./Fax.: +43 (1) 867 38 89
Tel./Fax.: +43 (1) 523 77 80
«Top of Page»
«Back to Startpage»