Kolja Blacher (violin) studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York with Dorothy DeLay, and then with Sandor Vegh in Salzburg. He has performed with major orchestras worldwide, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, the NDR Symphony, the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the Orchestra di Santa Cecilia and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. He has performed with conductors such as Kirill Petrenko, Vladimir Jurowski, Dimitri Kitajenko, Mariss Jansons, Matthias Pintscher and Markus Stenz, among others.
His repertoire includes solo works of Johann Sebastian Bach to Luciano Berio, but also the great violin concertos of the Romantic and Classical eras as well as contemporary pieces for violin and orchestra (for example those by Magnus Lindberg, Kurt Weill, Hans Werner and Bernd Alois Zimmermann). Always open for something new, he performed the German premiere of Brett Dean's "Electric Preludes" for six-stringed electric violin with the Munich Chamber Orchestra.
In the past five years, his so-called “Play-Lead” concerts have captured Blacher's interest. Leading the orchestra from the desk of the concertmaster, he has worked regularly with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Festival Strings Lucerne, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, the Camerata Bern, the Dresden Philharmonic and the Orchestra of the Komische Oper in Berlin. This is a performance practice which is more and more in demand, from St. Antonio to Kuala Lumpur to a residency with the Duisburg Philharmonic. As "Artist in Residence" of the Duisburg Philharmonic, Kolja Blacher presented four different types of programmes in 2014/2015.
He is enthusiastically re-invited whenever he works with orchestral musicians and leads performances from the concertmaster's desk.
Kolja Blacher is already looking forward to the coming 2015/2016 concert season including projects with Yan Pascal Tortelier and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the Südwestdeutschen Philharmonie Konztanz (play-lead), the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn (play-lead), a solo recital in Toppan Hall in Tokyo and further concertos with orchestras in Japan.
Kolja Blacher has recorded a number of award-winning CDs. Among others, they have received distinctions such as the "Diapason d'Or". For example, he has recorded CDs with Claudio Abbado, with whom he has had a long-term artistic partnership from his performances with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. In May of 2015, his fall 2013 recording of Arnold Schonberg's Violin Concerto with the Gürzenich Orchestra under Markus Stenz appeared, immediately topping the list of best recordings of orchestral music in the 3/2015 edition of the German Record Prize.
After serving as professor in Hamburg, he now teaches in Berlin at the Hanns Eisler School of Music. Growing up as the son of the German-Baltic composer Boris Blacher, Kolja Blacher still lives with his family in his city of origin, where he was concertmaster of the Berlin Philharmonic for six years, until finally deciding to make his way as a soloist.
Kolja Blacher plays on the so-called “Tritton” Stradivarius made in 1730. It is on generous loan from Miss Kimiko Powers.