Nikolaus Harnoncourt, who turned 86 yesterday, has announced his retirement. "My bodily strength requires me to cancel my future plans."

Harnoncourt (Count Nikolaus de la Fontaine und d'Harnoncourt-Unverzagt) was born in Berlin in 1929. He founded Concentus Musicus, the 'period'-instrument ensemble, in the 1950s and was a cellist in the Vienna Symphony Orchestra before pursuing a career as a conductor. He has since made many recordings with some of the world's leading orchestras, such as Berliner Philharmoniker, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Royal Concertgebouw and the Vienna Philharmonic.


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