Henk Guittart (b.1953) studied viola with Jürgen Kussmaul and orchestral conducting with Louis Stotijn in The Hague, The Netherlands. In 1974 he founded the Schoenberg Ensemble, of which he was the violist and artistic director until 1991. During 33 years, from its founding in 1976 until the end of the quartet’s existence in 2009, he has been the violist of the Schoenberg Quartet; with this group he performed in many countries and recorded 35 CD's, including the complete works by Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Zemlinsky. The Schoenberg Quartet played nearly 100 concerts in the legendary Amsterdam Concertgebouw Hall. Between 1983 and 1991 the Quartet worked frequently in Boston (USA), coaching their entire repertoire with the violist and famous quartet coach Eugene Lehner, formerly a member of the renowned Kolisch Quartet which in the 1920s and ‘30s worked with Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Ravel and Bartók.
During the 37 years of his life on stage as a violist with the Schoenberg Quartet and the Schoenberg Ensemble Henk Guittart gave many world premières (including works by Schoenberg and Zemlinsky which he rediscovered) and collaborated with many composers, a.o. Louis Andriessen, Jonathan Berger, Luigi Dallapiccola, Jonathan Dove, Berthold Goldschmidt, Sofia Gubaidulina, Maurizio Kagel, Otto Ketting, Igor Markevitch, Luigi Nono, Fredric Rzewski, Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov and Isang Yun.
From 1991 until 2001 he performed with oboist Han de Vries and pianist Ivo Janssen. They recorded original works for this unique combination by Klughardt, Hindemith, Loeffler and Kahn for cd. As a chamber musician and viola-soloist Henk Guittart performed and recorded with The Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Deutsche Bachsolisten, Consortium Classicum, Stuttgart Piano Trio and St.Lawrence String Quartet. All together he made more then 60 recordings as violist.
In 1987 Henk Guittart was the first recipient of the “3-M Music-Laureate”, The Netherlands' most prestigious celebration of artists. He was also awarded the Lifelong Membership of the Friends of the Arnold Schoenberg Institute in Los Angeles, an honour which he shares with Pierre Boulez, Felix Galimir and Eugene Lehner.
Henk Guittart edited a new publication of the Schoenberg String Trio op.45 and made arrangements for string ensembles of Schoenberg’s Wind Quintet op.26 and the Six little Piano Pieces op.19. He also made a version for viola and piano of Alban Berg’s Four Pieces for clarinet and piano op.5.
Guittart was head of the chamber music department of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague from 1979 until 1984, and in 1990/1991 he was appointed in the position of conductor/chamber-music coach at the Rotterdam Codarts Academy of Music and at the Maastricht Academy for Music. During the last decade he was a guest conductor and guest professor at the music academies in Budapest, Princeton, Los Angeles (USC), Dresden, The Hague, Amsterdam, Cologne, Moscow (Tchaikovsky Conservatory), Manchester, London (Guildhall) and Stanford.
In March 2014 Henk Guittart was appointed International Tutor in Strings Performance and Pedagogy at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, United Kingdom. From September 2014 he has accepted the post of Artistic Director of both the Orlando international chamber music Festival and the Orlando international Competition, which takes place in August in Kerkrade, The Netherlands.
As a conductor Henk Guittart has a wide range of repertoire, from the Viennese classics, and many works from the Second Viennese School, to brand-new music, including music-theatre and opera. As a conductor he recorded six CDs with works by Kurt Weill, Jonathan Dove, Jonathan Berger, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Zemlinsky, Wagner, Bruckner, Debussy, Busoni, Taylor Brook, Justin Christensen, Brian Current and Zosha di Castri. He led the first Dutch performances of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony and Bruckner's Seventh Symphony in the versions for chamber orchestra.
From 2010 until 2013 Henk Guittart was Artistic Director of Music Programs, Fall& Winter at The Banff Centre for the Arts, where he led three highly praised and very successful years, after having served since the fall of 2006 also as artistic advisor of music programs and as special guest faculty during fall, winter, and summer programs.
At the Banff Centre he coached countless young artists and ensembles (including international competition top-prize winners such as the Afiara Quartet, Attacca Quartet, Cecilia Quartet, Rusquartet, Schumann Quartett, Tin Alley String Quartet and Tokai Quartet) and conducted works by Anton Bruckner, Jonathan Dove, Jonathan Berger, Morton Feldman, Taylor Brook, Johannes van Bree, Mozart, Schubert, Beethoven, Haydn, Dvorak, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Zemlinsky, Wagner, Debussy, Busoni, Justin Christensen, Brian Current and Zosha di Castri.
version: September 2014