Andreas Ottensamer is an Austrian clarinetist. Born April 4, 1989, in Vienna and trained as a multi-instrumentalist, he took piano lessons at age four and started cello at ten, before he settled on the clarinet in 2003, studying with Johann Hindler at the University for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. ("Music was present from the first day of my life before I could even realize what was going on," he told Australia's Limelight magazine.) He has won awards in major competitions for all of his instruments, and he became principal clarinetist for the Vienna State Opera Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He was pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University when he was named as a scholar of the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, in time becoming principal clarinetist with the Berlin Philharmonic in 2011. As a chamber musician, he has performed with Murray Perahia, Leif Ove Andsnes, Janine Jansen, and Yo-Yo Ma, among others, and serves as co-artistic director of the Bürgenstock Festival with pianist José Gallardo. He has performed with his father, Ernst Ottensamer, and his brother, Daniel Ottensamer, in clarinet trio the Clarinotts. The group released its eponymous CD on Mercury Classics/Deutsche Grammophon. Ottensamer has ventured into jazz and pop, accompanying Tori Amos on her album Night of Hunters (2011).
Ottensamer made his solo debut with Portraits: The Clarinet Album in 2013 on the Deutsche Grammophon label, which, to his surprise, had sought him out. Featuring concertos by Copland, Spohr, and Cimarosa (as well as Gershwin's Preludes arranged for clarinet), the album made no bid for crossover success, and Ottensamer continued to explore unusual programming concepts on subsequent releases. His 2015 album Brahms: The Hungarian Connection brought to light Hungarian influences, even in such an absolute work as the Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115. That album earned Ottensamer Echo Klassik's Instrumentalist of the Year award in Germany. Ottensamer moved to Decca for his 2017 release New Era, featuring clarinet works by members of the Mannheim school who brought the instrument to prominence in the orchestra. ~ Blair Sanderson, James Manheim