Both in opera and in the symphonic repertoire, Harnoncourt progressed as a conductor from Viennese classicism through the Romantic period to the 20th century. To cite just a few examples: his Mozart cycle at the Vienna State Opera, and the Salzburg Festival with Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea and Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and La clemenza di Tito. In between, he returned time and again to Zurich, conducting Weber's Freischütz there, Des Teufels Lustschloss and Alfonso und Estrella by Schubert, Offenbach's La belle Hélène, La Périchole and La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, and Verdi's Aida.
In the orchestral field, Nikolaus Harnoncourt built up and regularly rediscovered a large repertoire with four ensembles: the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Vienna and the Berlin Philharmonic, and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. This broad repertoire ranges from Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven through Schubert, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, Dvorák and Bruckner to 20th century composers like Bela Bartók and Alban Berg.
One of the central venues for many of these projects has been the music festival "styriarte", which was founded in Graz in 1985 with the aim of strengthening Harnoncourt's ties with his home town. It was here that he conducted for the first time Schumann's Genoveva, the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and, in 2001, the Verdi Requiem. 2003 saw his first opera production at the festival: Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein. Another highlight was the scenic production of Bizet's Carmen at the 2005 "styriarte".
He has received numerous international awards for his work: Nikolaus Harnoncourt is an honorary member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde and the Konzerthausgesellschaft in Vienna (since 1992), he holds honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, the College of Music and Dance in Cologne and the Mozarteum College of Music in Salzburg, and is an honorary member of the Graz and Vienna colleges of music. He was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2002 and the Stockholm Polar Prize, and in 2005 he was honoured with the Kyoto Prize, the world's most important independent cultural award bestowed on outstanding international personalities from the arts and sciences.
Born: May 30, 1928 - Graveland (near Hilversum), Holland.Died: January 16, 2012 - Amsterdam, Holland.