Joseph Breinl

Joseph Breinl is a Professor of Song Interpretation and Vocal Accompaniment at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. He is a multi-award winner of several international competitions, including London’s Wigmore Hall Competition and the Echo Rising Star Award 2005.

© Melanie Paul


Numerous radio broadcasts and high-profile appearances have earned Joseph Breinl a reputation as one of the most highly respected piano accompanists and chamber musicians of his generation. He has performed to critical acclaim at many of the world’s most prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, the Semperoper Dresden and Suntory Hall in Tokyo.

Future engagements for Joseph include accompanying recitals with Christianne Stotijn for Oper du Rhin, Strasbourg.


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    15 Nov 17 Recital with Waltraud Meier
    Opernhaus Zurich

    “Fuer einmal haette man auf dem Plakat beide Namen gleich gross drucken koennen. Denn gewiss ist die Sopranistin Waltraud Meier ein Weltstar. Aber Joseph Breinl, ihr Partner am Klavier, was ihr an diesem Abend absolut ebenbuertig – was die Herausforderungen angeht und die Art, wie er sie souveraen, ja ueberwealtigend gut meisterte. Es stand ja nicht nur Original-Klaviersatz auf dem Programm (je sechs Lieder von Brahms und Hugo Wolf), sondern aud eigentlich orchestral Gedachtes (Wagners ‘Wesendonk-Lieder’) und die Transkription eines Monster-Orchestersatzes: Das ‘Lied der Waldtaube’ aus Schoenbergs Gurre-Liedern erfordert eigentlich ein 150-koepfiges Orchester. Das muss man auf 88 Tasten erst mal nachmachen.”

    “For once you could print on the poster both names the same size. For certain, the soprano Waltraud Meier is a world star. But Joseph Breinl, her partner at the piano, was her absolutely equal this evening – in terms of the challenges and the way he mastered them, and indeed mastered them so well. It was not only original piano accompaniments (six songs each by Brahms and Hugo Wolf), but also full orchestral reductions (Wagner’s ‘Wesendonk-Lieder’) and the transcription of the monumental orchestral setting: the ‘Lied der Waldtaube’ from Schoenberg’s Gurre-Lieder, actually written for 150-piece orchestra. You have to imitate this on 88 keys first.”

    “Fuer den Freund des deutschen Liedes war dieser Abend ein Fest, fuer den musikhistorisch Mitdenkenden ein Lecker-bissen: Von Brahms ueber Wolf und Wagner bis zum fruehen Schoenberg konnte man verfolgen, wie ungeheuer Chromatik und Motivik sich in wenigen Jahrzehnten entwickelt haben. Waltraud Meier erwies sich mindestens so sehr als Liedgestalterin und Performerin wie als Saengerin. Ihre Stimme … benutzt sie als aeusserst modulationsfaehiges und variantenreiches Instrument; manchmal entspinnt sich ein kleines Drama auf einem einzigen Ton…”

    “For the friend of the German Lied this evening was a feast, for the music-historically thinking a tasty-bite: from Brahms through Wolf and Wagner to the early Schoenberg one could follow how enormously chromaticism and motifs developed in few decades. Waltraud Meier was at least as much a storyteller and performer as a singer. Her voice … was used as an extremely versatile and varied instrument; sometimes a small drama unfolds on a single note…”

    “Dass sie ueber sehier undendliche Reserven verfuegt, zeigte Meier in den drei Zugaben, darunter Schuberts ‘Erlkoenig’ – fuer Planisten eine Handgelenksfolter bravouroes gespielt!  … Da war der Rezensent im Saal aber schon hin und weg.”

    “The fact that she has plenty of reserves to spare was shown by Meier in the three encores, including Schubert’s ‘Erlkoenig’ – for pianists a wrist torturer brilliantly played! … Here the reviewer was still in the hall but already blown away.”
    Martin Ebel, Tagesanzeiger Zürich, 17 November 2017

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    01 Aug 12 Recital with Waltraud Meier
    Edinburgh International Festival

    “Breinl was exceptional in his exploration of anguished memory in the long postlude”
    The Guardian, August 2012

    “Bringing their extensive operatic stage experience to bear on a programme of Schubert, Schumann and Strauss lieder, Meier and Breinl evoked all the nuance of every setting in a character-led approach where the emotion of the poetry was paramount…the exquisite controlled beauty of Meier and Breinl’s performance was heart-stopping in its intensity”, August 2012

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    01 Feb 12 'Portraits' Songs by Clara and Robert Schumann, Miah Persson and Joseph Breinl BIS CD

    “He has not remained just a student of Graham Johnson, but has become a truth-teller and artist of the highest caliber. The difficult issue of rubato in Schumann is not an issue for him at all, but a welcome ally in spelling out the pulse and nuances of a phrase. His tone and voicing of the various lines are luminous. The mood of each song is skillfully cast through an admirable synthesis of technique and poetry. The extended postlude to Frauenliebe und Leben is quite a challenge artistically, and I have heard it played countless times, on recordings and in recitals over five decades, by the best of artists. They include Bruno Walter, Gerald Moore, Geoffrey Parsons, and Graham Johnson. However I can think of no finer performance of this passage—no finer performance of the entire cycle, in fact—than Joseph Brienl’s.”
    Fanfare, Classical Music Review, February 2012

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    01 Aug 10 Recital with Christianne Stotijn
    Edinburgh International Festival

    “Breinl’s accompaniments, particularly the postlude to the 14th song, were models of articulacy. Among the encores, Strauss’s Morgen had surely been hopefully awaited by the audience. It was exquisitely sustained.”
    Glasgow Herald, August 2010

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    01 Mar 10 Recital with Christianne Stotijn
    Wigmore Hall

    “Joseph Breinl was the perfect partner, his piano playing minutely sentient, warmly supportive and chillingly evocative. … Breinl’s fingers recreated the sound of distant bells and moonlit brooks in beautifully mixed and mingled tones…”
    Times Online, March 2010

    “… Stotijn’s Wigmore recital began with four songs of varied mood from Tchaikovsky, all dealing with love but moving from the outright bliss and carefree happiness of “The sun has set” and “It was in Early Spring” to a tense version of “Had I only known”. Here Joseph Breinl was exceptional in his sensitivity of accompaniment, the prelude and postlude setting the scene and describing the subject, a handsome horse-man, while Stotijn’s refrain of ‘If only I had known, had realised’ served as a thoughtful pause.”, March 2010