Cellist Sebastian Hess has Died, Aged 50

The former pupil of William Pleeth and Mstislav Rostropovich passed away suddenly from an aneurysm

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Hess was born in Munich in 1971 and studied at the music academies in Würzburg and Munich under the tutelage of Julius Berger and Helmar Steihler

When he was 18, he made his debut with the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Bernstein. He performed at the Aldeburgh, Almeida, South Bank, Schleswig-Holstein, Salzburg Easter, and Rheingau Music festivals — and served on the faculty of the Kronberg Cello Academy.

He appeared as a soloist with the Bavarian State Orchestra, Bamberg Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, the Moscow Soloists, and the Berlin Academy of Ancient Music.

His discography ranged from baroque to modern works and he recorded many notable works with the Oehms label. His collaborators included Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann, and Hans Werner Henze. 

“I can still remember how devotedly he played Mendelssohn's Variations concertantes,” wrote BR-KLASSIK's editor Thorsten Preuß. “How he let the melodies flow, closed his eyes when it got intense, and seemed to grow into an inseparable unit with his cello.”

“It's hard to believe that Sebastian's voice, so often full of optimism and zest for action, has fallen silent forever,” continued Preuß. “His music will stay.”

A concert in memory of Mr. Hess hosted by BR Klassik can be heard, here.

Our condolences to Mr. Hess's family, friends, and colleagues.