It was really in at the deep end: when Kolja Blacher became 1st concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1993, he came straight from college. “At that time there were no orchestral academies like the Karajan Academy. The only orchestral experience I had was with the orchestra of the Juilliard School, which says a lot about the orchestral training there,” says the violinist. Blacher remained a member of the Berliner Philharmoniker for six years before ultimately deciding to pursue a career as a soloist.
Kolja Blacher, who was born in Berlin, went to the Juilliard School in New York at the age of 15 to study under Dorothy DeLay. He then continued his studies under Sándor Végh in Salzburg. After his time as 1st concertmaster of the Berliner Philharmoniker, he embarked on a career as a soloist which has taken him to top orchestras such as the Philharmonic orchestras in Oslo, Munich and London, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia in Rome and also the Berliner Philharmoniker. Claudio Abbado, Kirill Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski, Dmitry Kitajenko, Mariss Jansons and Alan Gilbert are among the conductors Kolja Blacher has worked with. One focus of his artistic work is on concerts without a conductor, with Blacher taking over the musical direction from the concertmaster’s desk. In this role, he has made guest appearances with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Festival Strings Lucerne, the Camerata Bern, the Dresden Philharmonic and the orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, among others. Blacher taught as a professor of violin at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg from 1999 to 2009 and then moved to the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin in the same position.