On This Day
4 April: Andreas Ottensamer Was Born

Clarinet sensation Andreas Ottensamer is internationally known for his “beauty of tone and distinct musicality over a wide range of styles.” One of the most exciting and respected artists on the classical stage, Ottensamer is passionate about bringing classical music to a younger generation of listeners. According to Ottensamer, “In this time of fast entertainment and unlimited access to quick information and attractions, classical music sometimes seems dusty and strange.” However, as a youth icon and role model for classical musicians, Ottensamer wants to communicate just how appealing and attractive classical music can be.

Andreas Ottensamer Plays Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 1 in F minor, “Rondo”

Ottensamer Dynasty

Andreas Ottensamer

Andreas Ottensamer

The Ottensamer family is a unique musical dynasty based in Vienna. His father Ernst Ottensamer was one of the principal clarinets with the Vienna Philharmonic, and so is currently his brother Daniel. Andreas, of course, is principal clarinet with the Berlin Philharmonic. Andreas always “found his father’s job incredibly cool. It was great to see that he gives concerts and people like to see him perform.”

Andreas is projecting his career onto his own children. “To a certain extent,” he explains,” they think it’s great and one of them wants to become a clarinettist, of course, I won’t talk him out of it.” The other great musical influence on Andreas’ life was provided by his mother Cecilia Ottensamer, who was a professional pianist and also held an appointment as professor of cello at the Vienna Conservatory.

Joseph Friedrich Hummel: Trio for 3 Clarinets (Ernst Ottensamer, clarinet; Andreas Ottensamer, clarinet; Daniel Ottensamer, clarinet)

Childhood Studies

The Clarinotts

The Clarinotts

Born on 4 April 1989, Andreas Ottensamer had his first piano lessons, with his mother, at the age of 4. He still believes that learning the piano at an early age is the ideal start for any child. “It’s a fantastic way of getting in touch with music, and later it also gives you the possibility to really understand the harmonic structures.”

Andreas expanded his musical horizon by initially following in the footsteps of his mother. He took up the cello, which is still his favourite string instrument. “I just love the dark, full sound,” he once explained in an interview. Ottensamer’s musical talent was immediately apparent, and he entered the University for Music and Arts in Vienna studying the cello with Wolfgang Herzer.

Andreas Ottensamer Plays Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte, Op. 19, No. 6


Andreas Ottensamer

Andreas Ottensamer

The sound of the clarinet had been omnipresent in the Ottensamer household. He heard his father practicing and performing, and later his brother joined in as well. “The clarinet,” according to Ottensamer, “has always been a very natural element in my life. It certainly wasn’t a big surprise that I wanted to try this instrument at some point.”

Andreas had just reached the age of 12 when his brother and father had him play along with an open note as a joke at a musical session at home. That open note turns out to have been the “g,” and Andreas played it whenever it appeared in Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio. According to Ottensamer, “that was the spark that got everything started in earnest.” He fell in love with the warm sound of the instrument and admired the role the clarinet is given in chamber music and jazz.

Daniel Ottensamer Plays Shaw’s Jazz Clarinet Concerto

Professional Career

Andreas Ottensamer

© Luzena Adams

In 2003, Ottensamer began studying clarinet with Johann Hindler, a member of the Vienna Philharmonic, and he quickly left the cello behind. Andreas made such progress that just two years later he formed an ensemble with his father and brother. They called themselves “The Clarinotts,” and after a short time “I decided to stick with this instrument.”

Ottensamer knew from very early on that it was his dream to become a professional musician, “but not at any cost. The job market in classical music is very tough and being realistic I didn’t see high chances for me to succeed in getting a job as a musician.” Ottensamer had many additional interests and talents, including football, tennis, golf, and skiing, but his love for music won the day. “I decided to give it a chance and to follow my passions. I am very happy with how things turned out.”

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Andreas Ottensamer Performs Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622

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