Sad news: Eminent composer mourns his wife

Sad news: Eminent composer mourns his wife


norman lebrecht

January 27, 2014

Heinz Holliger, the Swiss composer, has lost his wife Ursula, at the age of 76.

An outstanding harpist, Ursula Holliger played on many recordings for Philips, DG, Claves and Novalis. She performed the European premiere of Elliott Carter’s harp concerto, Mosaic, and with her husband gave the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle’s 26 Orpheus Elegies for Oboe and Harp with Countertenor at the 2004 Lucerne Festival.



  • RIP Ursula Holliger, I remember fondly a fantastic Ensemble Modern tour to Korea in 2002 playing Elliot Carter’s Asko Concerto with Urusla sitting right behind me and Heinz conducting right in front of me. Great experience of their family life!

  • Tully Potter says:

    She was indeed a wonderful harpist and they made a great combination in the various works written for them.

  • MacroV says:

    That’s sad news. Interesting that you label Heinz Holliger as a composer, which he is, and not as the most celebrated oboe soloist, well, ever. And you might add that the two of them also premiered Lutoslawski’s concerto for oboe and harp.

  • Lisa Wellbaum Geber says:

    I remember her well. She and I performed in Cleveland together. She was a great lady and harpist!

  • NYMike says:

    I remember her as a lovely 18-year old contestant at the 1st International Harp Competition in Israel 1959. She was a finalist.

  • John Babb says:

    The creative partnership with her husband stimulated the production of fine works. The two that stand out for me are Henze’s Doppio Concerto and Frank Martin’s Trois Danses for Oboe, Harp and strings. She was a very special artist.