Sad news: A Berlin Philharmonic legend has died

Sad news: A Berlin Philharmonic legend has died


norman lebrecht

April 03, 2017

The orchestra has announced the death of concertmaster Thomas Brandis, a member of the orchestra throughout the Karajan glory years, from 1962 to 1983. He was recrruited from Hamburg at the age of 26.

Thomas, who died on March 30, was 81.

He was last seen at the Philharmonie at the opening concert of the orchestra’s incoming music director, Kirill Petrenko. Among other teaching posts, he was visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

He founded and led the Brandis Quartet for 25 years.


  • Dominic Fyfe says:

    This is desperately sad news. Thomas was enormously warm, generous and had a terrific sense of humour. His laugh was legendary. I knew him from 1991 when he was guest concertmaster of the Austro-Hungarian Haydn Orchestra and then throughout his years recording with the Brandis Quartet. Highlights from then include the late Schubert quartets and quintet; the Mozart wind pieces with Lothar Koch, Karl Leister and Gerd Seifert (Schubert and Mozart were the composers closest to his heart) and an award-winning disc of the Sextet from Capriccio, Verklärte Nacht and the string septet version of Metamorphosen. That recording included Rainer Zepperitz, the Berlin Philharmonic’s principal bass since Furtwängler’s time, another much-missed member of that generation. Thomas always kept in touch and we met whenever he was in London teaching at the Academy. He never allowed Illness and disability to get in the way of his desire to teach and in that he was an example and inspiration to all of us. One can be thankful that a whole new generation of young musicians benefited from the incredible experience and exacting standards of this wonderful man. What a loss but, at least, what a legacy.

  • Didi says:

    Dominic I’m looking for you Didi