Vienna Clarinet Connection

Formed in 1995, the Vienna Clarinet Connection is a clarinet quartet that defies convention with its unique instrumentation and versatile musical style. Comprising two clarinets, a basset horn, and a bass clarinet, the ensemble features Helmut Hödl, principal clarinetist of the Vienna Volksoper Symphony Orchestra, alongside Rupert Funkhauser, Hubert Salmhofer, and Wolfgang Kornmberger, distinguished educators at the University of Vienna.

While the ensemble's setup may evoke a traditional string quartet, their performances transcend genres, delivering laid-back, ear-pleasing music that effortlessly traverses classical, jazz, pop, contemporary, and improvisational styles. With a repertoire that includes original compositions, collaborations, and innovative arrangements, the Vienna Clarinet Connection captivates audiences with its seamless blend of diverse influences.

Renowned for their symbiotic performances brimming with inspiration, the Vienna Clarinet Connection has garnered acclaim on television and radio, enchanting listeners with their distinctive sound. They have graced the stages of Vienna's prestigious theaters and renowned European music festivals, including Salzburg, earning widespread popularity not only in their native Vienna but also across the continent. With their captivating performances and genre-defying approach, the Vienna Clarinet Connection continues to captivate audiences and push the boundaries of clarinet ensemble music.



Helmut Hoedl (clarinet/composer)

Helmut Hödl, a versatile musician and composer, has established himself as a prominent figure in the world of clarinet performance and composition. His musical journey began with studies at the prestigious Academies of Music in Vienna and Graz, where he honed his skills under the guidance of renowned clarinetists Gerhard Schönfeldinger, Peter Schmidl, and Ernst Ottensamer. He further enriched his musical education through participation in master classes led by Alfred Prinz and Alois Brandhofer. Hödl's exceptional talent has been recognized with scholarships from esteemed institutions such as the Vienna Philharmonic and the Yamaha Europe Foundation.

Throughout his career, Hödl has been an integral part of esteemed ensembles, including the Bach Collegium Stuttgart, the Salzburg Mozartweik Woodwind Ensemble, and the Ensemble de 20. In 1993, he assumed the role of principal clarinetist with the Vienna Volksoper Orchestra, a position he has held with distinction. Alongside his performing career, Hödl has been dedicated to education, sharing his expertise as a faculty member at the Joseph Haydn Academy in Eisenstadt since 1998.

As a founding member of both the Trio Clarinet and Quintet Wien, Hödl has contributed to the enrichment of chamber music repertoire. However, it is perhaps his role as the founder of the Vienna Clarinet Connection that has garnered widespread recognition. Through this innovative ensemble, Hödl has explored new dimensions of clarinet performance, blending classical traditions with contemporary influences.

In addition to his prowess as a performer, Hödl has emerged as a notable composer, receiving numerous commissions for his original compositions. Notably, his work "Britten and the English" was commissioned by Jeunesses Musicales and reflects his deep understanding of musical expression. Many of Hödl's compositions have been crafted specifically for the Vienna Clarinet Connection, showcasing his ability to tailor his creations to the unique strengths of the ensemble.

Hödl's artistic endeavors have taken him across the globe, with solo and chamber performances in Japan, Taiwan, Iceland, England, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. His contributions to the world of clarinet music, both as a performer and composer, continue to resonate with audiences worldwide, cementing his legacy as a preeminent figure in contemporary clarinet music.

Rupert Funkhouser (Clarianet)

Rupert Funkhouser is a distinguished clarinetist whose musical journey has taken him across the globe, enchanting audiences with his exceptional talent and artistry. His passion for music began at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where he honed his skills under the tutelage of esteemed mentors. Recognizing his exceptional promise, Funkhouser was awarded scholarships from prestigious institutions such as the Herbert von Karajan Foundation Berlin and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Academy, paving the way for his remarkable career.

Funkhouser's virtuosity on the clarinet has been showcased in various prestigious roles, including serving as the solo clarinetist of the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra, the Klagenfurt City Theater Orchestra, and the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra in South Africa. His collaborations with world-renowned orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic and the Berlin Philharmonic have further solidified his reputation as a prominent figure in the classical music scene.

Throughout his career, Funkhouser has had the privilege of working under the baton of legendary conductors, including Karajan, Bernstein, Abbado, Muti, Barenboim, Levine, Previn, Prêtre, Stein, Leinsdorf, Jansons, and Rattle, among others. His performances have taken him to renowned concert halls and festivals worldwide, where he has captivated audiences with his expressive interpretations and technical mastery.

In addition to his orchestral engagements, Funkhouser is highly sought after as a chamber musician and soloist, collaborating with esteemed ensembles such as Modern Times 1800, Cappella Istropolitana, Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, to name a few. His dedication to musical excellence extends beyond performance, as evidenced by his role as an Associate Professor of Clarinet at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where he shares his knowledge and passion with the next generation of musicians.

Funkhouser's artistic pursuits are complemented by his commitment to holistic well-being, as reflected in his practice of Yoga, Alexander Technique, Breathwork, Movement Theory, Grinberg Method 1st Step, and Spiral Dynamics (Basic). He is also actively involved in international workshop activities, offering guidance and coaching to aspiring musicians through programs such as "The Body as an Instrument" and serving as a Coach for the Baltic Youth Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Kristjan Järvi.

With his unwavering dedication to music, his mastery of the clarinet, and his commitment to nurturing talent, Rupert Funkhouser continues to inspire audiences and musicians alike, leaving an indelible mark on the world of classical music.


Salmhofer ( basset horn )

Salmhofer is a versatile and accomplished musician known for his mastery of the basset horn and his dynamic contributions to the world of classical music. As a dedicated educator, he imparts his knowledge and passion for music as a teacher at the Gustav Mahler Private Music Academy, nurturing the talents of aspiring musicians.

His musical journey began with notable performances as a member of the prestigious Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra under the baton of Abbado in 1987 and 1988, laying the foundation for his subsequent career. Salmhofer's exceptional talent on the basset horn has led to regular performances with esteemed orchestras such as the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Volksoper, and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Additionally, his expertise as a basset horn player has earned him invitations to collaborate with renowned chamber music groups, showcasing his artistry on prominent stages worldwide.

As a founding member of Trio Clarín and a frequent participant in music festivals across Europe, Salmhofer continues to captivate audiences with his expressive performances and unwavering commitment to musical excellence. His versatility extends beyond the classical realm, as evidenced by his involvement in various musical projects spanning genres such as folk-blues and pop. Salmhofer's adaptability and flexible style make him a sought-after studio musician, contributing his talents to a diverse range of artistic endeavors.

In addition to his active performance career, Salmhofer shares his expertise with aspiring musicians as a lecturer at the Gustav Mahler Private Music University, shaping the next generation of musical talent with his guidance and mentorship. Through his multifaceted contributions to the music industry, Salmhofer continues to enrich the cultural landscape and inspire audiences with his artistry and passion for music.


Wolfgang Colmberger ( bass clarinet )

Wolfgang Colmberger stands as a distinguished figure in the realm of bass clarinet, celebrated both as a performer and educator. Since 2003, he has enriched the musical community as a dedicated faculty member at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where he imparts his expertise to aspiring musicians.

Colmberger's musical journey began under the guidance of Professor Josef Pettler in Perau, laying the groundwork for his illustrious career. He pursued further studies in concert music at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where he honed his craft under the tutelage of esteemed instructors such as Professor Peter Schmidl, Professor Ernst Ottensamer, and Professor Johann Hindler—esteemed members of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

A recipient of the WANAS Foundation scholarship administered by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Colmberger has continually sought to expand his musical horizons through participation in master classes led by distinguished mentors such as Alois Brandhofer and Manfred Preis of the Berlin Philharmonic.

As an orchestral musician, Colmberger has graced the stage with renowned conductors and performers, including Pierre Boulez, Franz Welser-Möst, and Plácido Domingo. His collaborations span prestigious ensembles such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna State Opera Orchestra, and Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, showcasing his versatility and artistry on a global stage.

Colmberger's passion for chamber music shines through his involvement with esteemed ensembles like the basset horn ensemble "Trio Clarín" and the Vienna Clarinet Connection, both of which have garnered acclaim for their innovative performances and captivating interpretations. His contributions to these groups have resulted in numerous recordings and performances at renowned venues and festivals worldwide.

Beyond his commitments to performance and pedagogy, Colmberger remains dedicated to the advancement of his craft through collaboration with instrument makers Rudolf Tutz and Martin Voagt in the development of the bass clarinet with a German fingering system, showcasing his commitment to innovation and excellence.

As a revered educator, Colmberger shares his wealth of knowledge and experience through master classes at esteemed institutions such as the "Bläserulrlaub Bad Goisern" and the International Music Academy in Feldkirchen, inspiring the next generation of clarinetists with his passion for music and dedication to artistic excellence.

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