Rene Clemencic is a composer, conductor, virtuoso flautist and clavichordist, harpsichordist and organist, director and founder of a world-famous ensemble for early music (the Clemencic Consort), musicologist and writer, philosopher, as well as a collector of emblematic books and sculptures.
Born on 27 February 1928 in Vienna, he is a true child of the Danube metropolis. His ancestors came from Istria, Slovenia, Moravia and Poland. He is a direct descendant on his mother's side of the creator of modern textual criticism, the German philologist Karl Lachmann. At home he always spoke Italian with his father, a notary, and German with his mother.
He received his formal education in Vienna, then went on to study philosophy and musicology at the Sorbonne and the College de France in Paris, and again at the University of Vienna, where he obtained his doctorate in 1956. During the same time he studied music - the recorder, harpsichord, and Hindemith's music theory with H.H. Staeps in Vienna; harpsichord with E. Harich-Schneider in Vienna; Collegium Musicum with J. Mertin in Vienna; the recorder with J. Collette in Nijmegen (Holland), L. Hoffer v. Winterfeld and W. Nitschke in Berlin; Formal Analysis with E. Ratz in Vienna; Theory of Music with Arnold Schonberg's friend and pupil J. Polnauer in Vienna, and J.M. Hauer's Dodecaphonic Theory with J. Schwieger in Vienna.
Ever since the late 1950s he has appeared in solo concerts as recorder virtuoso, and with his ensemble, the Clemencic Consort, playing music ranging from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance to the Baroque and Avantgarde, travelling to concert venues all over Europe, the African countries, North and South America, Asia, and Australia.
For the past 30 seasons he has been responsible for the organization of his own series of concerts dedicated to early music at the renowned Musikverein in Vienna, this current season with programmes ranging from Obrecht and Willaert (15th/16th c.) to Marco Uccellini (17th c.) and Antonio Vivaldi (18th c.).
Clemencic appears in more than 100 record and CD productions, both as soloist and conductor of his own ensemble, as well as with other orchestras. Many of these recordings were awarded international prizes, such as Edison, Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d'Or, Prix Cecilia, etc.
Due to his tireless research activity Rene Clemencic with his ensemble has made many Medieval and Renaissance works accessible to the modern audience for the first time in concert. These include, e.g. Carmina Burana, Ludus Danielis, "Filius Getronis", "Cantigas de Santa Maria", "Le Roman de Fauvel", masses by Dufay, Obrecht, Ockeghem, Isaac, Josquin. He is specialized in Baroque music and the Viennese Sepolcro. Stage productions of the Clemencic Consort include "Euridice" (Peri), "Il lutto dell' Universo" (Emperor Leopold the First), "L'Eternita soggetta al Tempo" (Draghi), "L'Orfeo" (Sartorio), "Assalone Punito" (Ziani), "Narciso" (Scarlatti), "L'Olimpiade" (Vivaldi), "Testoride Argonauta" (de Sousa Carvalho), "Dafne in Lauro" (Fux), "La Purpura de la Rosa" (Torrejon y Velasco). The last-mentioned five Baroque operas were the subject of a tour de force performance all within 10 days at the Paris Theatre des Champs-Elysees.
As a recorder soloist, Rene Clemencic has played works ranging from Medieval to Avantgarde music, presenting them as a rule with his own introductory words and commentary. In his program "Flauto Magico" he plays more than twenty different flutes and recorders. For several years now, he has devoted his attention to performing the vast literature for the clavichord.
He has taught the subjects "The recorder as a virtuoso instrument", "Musical ornamentation", "Musical notation of the Middle Ages and the Baroque", and "Philosophy of music" at the Vienna Academy of Music and has conducted many international summer courses and seminars all over Europe and the United States. In April 2001, he held seminars in China on the invitation of the Shanghai Music Conservatory.
His publications include "Old musical instruments" (Weidenfeld, London), "Carmina Burana" (Artemis, Munich), and countless articles for music journals.