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Andreas Ottensamer: a portrait

A film by Sibylle Strobel (2017)

Andreas Ottensamer

7 min.

“The character of the clarinet is imbued with a kind of loftiness tempering a noble tenderness, rendering it favourable for the expression of sentiments and ideas the most poetic. ... The clarinet is little appropriate to the Idyll; it is an epic instrument, ... Its voice is that of heroic love.” (Hector Berlioz: A Treatise upon Modern Instrumentation and Orchestration)

The young Austrian Andreas Ottensamer comes from a musical family. After a few years with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, he took over the position of principal clarinet with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 2011. Ottensamer, who won competitions both as a pianist and as a cellist, performs regularly as a soloist and chamber musician, and has also released several recordings on Deutsche Grammophon. In this video, he explains the characteristics of his instrument which was made specifically for him in Vienna, the differences between Austrian and French clarinets, and talks about the specific challenge of fading notes and making them appear as if from nowhere. Short excerpts are shown of Ottensamer playing solo passages in orchestral works as well as the musician as a keen tennis player.