Univ.-Prof. Helmut Zehetner
President of the Artistic Committee
Helmut Zehetner, born in Lower Austria, was top prize winner of the regional violin competition of Music Schools in Lower Austria. He gave his debut with several solo concerts in Austria and in the USA during his one-year term as High School exchange graduate in Berkeley, San Francisco. After high school (1973), he made the entrance examination to the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. He studied the violin performance under the instruction of Franz Samohyl and graduated in 1980. He also studied composition with Friedrich Neumann, conducting with Karl Österreicher and Otmar Suitner with diploma in 1982 of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.
Since 1980, he has been performing as violinist in the Vienna State Opera and became a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (Wiener Philharmoniker). He played as a principal of the 2nd violin-section of the orchestra. He performed with numerous chamber orchestras and has conducted many international chamber orchestras.
During his studies, he founded several youth and student orchestras (e.g. Jugendorchester der nö. Musikschulen, TU-Orchester) and organized and held classes of Summer academies ("Musikfabrik Rosenau/Zwettl"). Since 1985, he has been holding the lessons "Orchestra" at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Continuously, he conducted concerts with the Webern Sinfonietta and made preparation-rehearsals with the Webern Symphony Orchestra (WSO) for conductors like Riccardo Muti, Pierre Boulez, Franz Welser-Möst, Kirill Petrenko, Bertrand de Billy, Claudio Abbado, Mstislav Rostropovich and Zubin Metha. He established his own WSO-musical cycle in the Wiener Musikverein (the golden hall) as a cooperation between the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna and the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde as well as the organization Jeunesse.
Since 1997, he has been the chairman of the string department at the International Orchestra Institute Attergau which is under the patronage of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. This project offers a chance very skilled students from different countries to get in touch with the Viennese sound characteristics as well as the Viennese playing tradition. After their studies, they often play their final concert during the Salzburg festival.
In March, 2008, he was appointed as Professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.