Born 1961 in Nenzing, Vorarlberg, and started learning the violin at the age of seven; he pursued his studies at the Universitдt fьr Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna and privately with Professor Alfred Staar. His affiliation with the Wiener Philharmoniker dates from 1978, when the orchestra awarded him a study grant from the Dr Karl Bцhm Foundation.
Rainer Honeck formally joined the Wiener Staatsoper and the Wiener Philharmoniker as a first violinist in 1981, advancing to the position of concert master at the Opera in 1984 and to that of concert master of the Wiener Philharmoniker in 1992.
While his work with the orchestra remains the centre point of his musical life, Rainer Honeck still manages to be very active as a soloist, appearing with concert performances in Austria and throughout Europe (including the “Proms” in London), Japan and America. Personal highlights include Dvorak’s Violin Concerto with the Wiener Philharmoniker under Mariss Jansons in 2000, Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante (with Tobias Lea – viola) under Riccardo Muti in Vienna and on tour to Japan and America (including Carnegie Hall) and regular appearances with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (Suntory Hall, Tokyo) with which he has completed a Mozart series in April 2010. Future projects include Berg’s Violin Concerto with Daniele Gatti and the Wiener Philharmoniker.
Recordings of note as concertmaster include live productions of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Schйhйrazade with the Wiener Philharmoniker and Seiji Ozawa in 1993 (Philips) and Richard Strauss’ A Hero’s Life under Christian Thielemann in 2002 (Deutsche Grammophon). He has further recorded Dvorak’s and Mendelssohn’s Violin Concertos with the Czech Philharmonic in Prague (Pony Canyon label), Franz Schubert’s Complete Works for Violin and Piano (Frohla Studios) and a double CD of Mozart’s Violin Concertos released on the Orfeo label.
Rainer Honeck’s intensive work as a chamber musician (he was a founding member and leader of the Wiener Virtuosen from 1989 to 1999, leader of the Vienna String Soloists (1982–2004), leader of the Ensemble Wien since 2000 and of the Kammerorchester Wien-Berlin) is also well documented in radio, television and CD productions (mostly on the Koch label). He counts Jesse Norman, Kathleen Battle, Angelika Kirchschlager, Josй Carreras, Andrй Previn, Yuri Bashmet and Yefim Bronfmann among the greatest artists he has had the privilege to work with over the years.
With such vast experience, it seemed a natural step for him to extend his repertoire to encompass orchestral literature as a conductor and/or Stehgeiger with the Nagoya Philharmonic, the Kioi Sinfonietta and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan as well as with the Malmц Symphony Orchestra in Sweden among others.
Rainer Honeck plays the “ex-Hammerle” Stradivarius violin (1709); the instrument is a loan from the Austrian National Bank.