It is a poesy of tone that Barbara Buntrock seeks in her concerts: to furnish each note with its purpose, follow a musical line and find an expression that can move an audience. The daughter of a cellist and a violin-maker took her first violin lessons at the age of five and it was only just before the commencement of her tertiary studies that she discovered her love for the viola. Its deeper tones and timbres have attracted her ever since her first lesson on the instrument as a first-year student with Werner Dickel at the College of Music in Wuppertal.
Barbara Buntrock went on to study with Barbara Westphal at the Lübeck College of Music and completed a year abroad, as a scholarship holder of the Study Foundation of the German Nation and the German Foundation of Musical Life, with Heidi Castleman at the Juilliard School in New York. Following studies supplementary to her concert examination in the class of Tabea Zimmermann and Lars Anders Tomter at the Hanns Eisler conservatoire in Berlin, she graduated with distinction in 2012.
Barbara Buntrock has received valuable guidance from Seiji Ozawa, Nobuko Imai, Gabor Takács-Nagy, Kim Kashkashian, Yuri Bashmet, Anner Bylsma and Bruno Giuranna, some of it within the framework of the Verbier Festival Academy. From February 2009 to December 2010 she was also first solo violist in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, before giving up the post in favour of her solo and chamber projects.
Barbara Buntrock has won many international competitions, her most recent success being second prize in June 2012 at the Tokyo International Viola Competition. She had previously won prizes at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich, the Concours de Genève, the International Music Competition in Markneukirchen, the International Primrose Competition and the German Music Competition (DMW). Her native city of Wuppertal awarded her its 2008 Von der Heydt Bursary, honouring the ”steady musical development and evolution of a young artistic personality” and her ”high degree of musicianship and expressive, sensuous playing”.
Barbara Buntrock has appeared as a soloist with such ensembles as the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Wuppertal, the Chamber Orchestra of the Electoral Palatinate, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bergisches Land, the South-West German Chamber Orchestra of Pforzheim and the Bochum Symphony Orchestra. She will make her debut in the Zurich Tonhalle this September, with the support of the Orpheum Foundation, during the 2013 International Orpheum Music Festival.
As a viola player, she finds special inspiration in chamber music, both in the spontaneous coming-together of a new grouping and in the teamwork of an established ensemble. Barbara Buntrock is a member of the Mariani Piano Quartet, with whom she was awarded a DMW scholarship in March 2011. She also plays regularly with the Leipzig String Quartet and has recorded two CD’s with them including the string quintets by Mozart and Mendelssohn.
In the upcoming season a recording together with pianist Daniel Heide will be released by the Cavi-music label with sonatas by Paul Hindemith and Rebecca Clarke as well as the suite by Ernest Bloch, which were all composed in 1919. Furthermore also the debut CD of the Mariani Piano Quartet will be released in autumn by the label Genuin with works by Frank Bridge, Bohuslav Martinu and Robert Schumann.
As its artistic director, she oversaw the foundation in 2011 of ”Festival 3B — Chamber Music in the Wuppertal Immanuelskirche”, named after the three great B’s of Bach, Beethoven and Brahms and dedicated to the chamber repertoire of all musical eras.
Since October 2015 Barbara Buntrock has held the position as professor of viola at the Robert Schumann Hochschule Dusseldorf.
She plays a viola built by Antonio Mariani, Pesaro, c. 1650, formerly played by the legendary violist Lionel Tertis.