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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 such as 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 a 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 honor that 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 arranged Gustav Mahler's Lied von der Erde and Anton Webern's Passacaglia op.1 for chamber ensemble and made a version for viola and piano of Alban Berg's Four Pieces for clarinet and piano op.5.

Guittart is a passionate teacher and coach who has worked from 1978 until 2019 as chamber music coach and conductor at various Dutch Conservatoires. He was 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.

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 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.

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.

In September 2014 he accepted the post of Artistic Director of the Orlando Festival, an international chamber music festival which takes place in the summer in the south of 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 eight CD's with works by Kurt Weill, Jonathan Dove, Jonathan Berger, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Zemlinsky, Wagner, Bruckner, Debussy, Mahler and Busoni.

In 2011 he founded the Gruppo Montebello, an 'all-star' hand-picked international ensemble, with which he performs and records the complete collection of arrangements from the 1920's by the Viennese Society for Private Musical Performances, often in his own revised versions and including several later arrangements of orchestral music, as well as all major ensemble works by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, for the prestigious label Etcetera.

version: January 2019



    Biography (Word document)


h guittart

Henk Guittart {} conductor and coach
listening room
written by Henk Guittart  

"Clarity and Precision"
Arnold Schoenberg’s concept of presenting new music to an audience


Anton Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6
‘Original’ versus ‘Reduction’, and what to do with the arrangement?

listening room

Arnold Schoenberg Verklärte Nacht
live performance
RNCM String Orchestra
Henk Guittart, conductor

SIREN SONG Jonathan Dove
Siren Song

Brad Cooper, tenor
Amaryllis Dieltiens, soprano
Siren Ensemble
Henk Guittart, conductor

Live recording, 2007
Grachtenfestival, Amsterdam

excerpts from Scene 4
Davey: 'Dear Diana. Dear Diana'

Davey: 'I dream of a house and a garden'


listening room

Guittart led Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony Nr. 2 in a beautiful organic performance, full of exciting hesitations and much virtuosity.  
Telegraaf, 2001

The interpretation of the excellent conductor Henk Guittart was very beautiful. His gestures are exact and lucid.
Friesch Dagblad, 2001