Will Conway, COE Principal Cello
“I was a member of the COE when Nikolaus Harnoncourt first worked with the Orchestra. Between the first rehearsal of Beethoven's 5th and 6th symphonies and the first performance in the Wiener Konzerthaus a few days later, my whole concept of what a musician's role was changed forever. I had previously worked with great musicians, great intellectuals, great historians but never one who combined all in such an inspiring, informative, challenging, radical and deeply musical way. The performances were revelatory for everyone: it felt like playing in the first performances ever of those works. Through the years, Nikolaus Harnoncourt showed me how powerful and how life-sustaining the study and performance of music can be.
I have many inspiring memories of working with Nikolaus, but none more so than during a Smetana opera performance where I witnessed him, a man in his eighties, with both feet off the ground in a demonstration of his total commitment, transcendent in every way!”