Philipp Harnoncourt has died at 89

Philipp Harnoncourt has died at 89


norman lebrecht

June 05, 2020

The younger brother of Nikolaus Harnoncourt, a Catholic priest, theologian and music scholar, has departed this life.

The Harnoncourt brothers were close and Nikolaus talked to me once of Philipp with undisguised admiration.

Philipp (r. in the picture) founded a university department of church music at Graz and was active at the Vatican to improve relations with Greek Orthodoxy.

He was also involved in the publication of the first common hymn book for German-speaking Roman Catholic dioceses.

May he rest in peace.


  • jmccarty3 says:

    Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

  • Edgar Self says:

    A distinguished, titled family on both sides. Their mother was a descendant of Austrian archdukes and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. Yet these brothers achieved prominence through talent and hard work. They possessed than inherent charm and ability. May they rest in peace and honour.

    Nikolaus’s recorded talk about Bruckner’s unfinished Ninth symphony, in both English and German, is an example of wit, erudition, and delicacy. All honour to him and his brother, and to their distinguished family not forgetting Nikolaus’s wife Alice and their storied Concentus Musicus Wien. Nikolaus himself played the cello for seventeen years with the Wiener Symphoniker.