"If a composer could say what he had to say in words he would not bother trying to say it in music." G.M.

North West Festival Orchestra

Adolf Holler was born in Schärding on June 17, 1929 and studied violin, piano, trumpet and music theory at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz beginning in 1941.  In 1948 he continued at the Vienna Music Academy.  At this time, along with his colleague of the same age, the future famed conductor Nicolas Harnoncourt, he also acquired his first orchestral experience at the Kurorchester Badgastein. Although he already had received an engagement with the Lower Austrian Tonkuenstlerorchester in 1951, he continued to pursue the next step in his career by gaining membership in the Vienna Symphony in 1952.


  Shortly after the re-opening of the Vienna Opera in Nov. 1955 he performed a successful audition and joined their Opera Orchestra effective January 1, 1956.  He was accepted into the Association of the Vienna Philharmonic on October 1, 1960 remaining an active member until his retirement on September 1, 1994, a remarkable tenure in orchestral brass stewardship.

Throughout his 38 years of service to the Vienna Philharmonic Mr. Holler, who in addition to many other state and national honors and awards was presented with the Honorary Ring of the Vienna Philharmonic in 1985, impressed his colleagues with his consistency in performance, which was exemplified by an exceptional musicality combined with a surety in repertoire, and an inerrant sense of the ideal Philharmonic sound.  All of these attributes were based on sovereign command of his instrument.  He made a number of successful solo recordings in collaboration with Jascha Horenstein and other notable conductors.  The very many Vienna Philharmonic recordings under several great conductors featuring Mr. Holler in the solo trumpet spotlight are celebrated throughout the world today and many have become sought after by serious collectors.

This milestone concert is inspired in major part by the late Prof. Adolf Holler whose council and musicianship were decisive in influencing our conductor to decide to program this great romantic symphony.

After a chance meeting in Chicago in February 1984 on the occasion of the WPO at CSO a friendship developed between Mr. Holler and our resident conductor.  They met afterwards regularly in Vienna and Salzburg where Prof. Holler played the Third Mahler under Leonard Bernstein, and also in New York.

This friendship lasted until Prof. Holler’s death on April 19, 2012 – but our resident conductor keeps still in touch with Prof. Holler’s wife, Marianne. 

In 1970 Adolf Holler became a member of the Hofmusikkapelle Vienna, the 14th century chapel where the Vienna Choir Boys are in residence, and taught at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik beginning in 1980.  He retired completely in 1996 from that post.  In this context it was particularly moving that at his burial services at the Perchtoldsdorf Cemetery on May 2, 2012, not only members of the Philharmonic brass section, performing works of Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz Schubert along with Johannes Brahms “Haydn-Variations” based on Haydn’s  “ Chorale St. Antonii”, took their leave from Professor Holler, but also many of his former students as well.  Among these were Hiroki Kohara, who traveled from Japan representing seven other students from that country, and Dr. Verne Schwager from Chicago.

A Tribute to Professor Adolf ("ADI") Holler