Born on May 30, 1951


First attempts at composition

Began musical studies with his parents at the age of four

1962/63 Study of piano and music theory with Walter Wasservogel

1962-63: pupil at the Östermalms Musikskole in Stockholm


Starting in 1963 violin lessons with Franz Samohyl in Vienna

Starting in 1965 study of harmony and counterpoint at the Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Vienna


1968/69: guest study at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Anja Ignatius (violin) and Izumi Tateno (piano).

Concert debuts in Helsinki with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto and, as pianist, Chopin’s scherzos

After returning from Helsinki further composition studies with Alfred Uhl, twelve-tone music with Erich Urbanner, stylistics of new music with Francesco Valdambrini

Further study with Franz Samohyl

Concert debut in the large hall of the Vienna Musikverein with Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto. Starting in 1972, conducting study with Hans Swarowsky and Karl Österreicher

In 1973 winner of the Lisbon Bach-Mozart Competition

International concert activity, recordings for radio of seldom played works for violin and piano

1973: end of composition study


René Staar, Bernstein, Ferencik

1974: end of violin study and beginning of many years as assistant of his teacher Franz Samohyl

August 1975: soloist at the birthday concert for Leonard Bernstein at the Carinthian Summer

1975: interruption of conducting study after the death of Hans Swarowsky

Starting in 1974, composition of training works for two violins, which he would later enjoy playing in concert


1977-80: postgraduate study with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati. Principal work of this period: Fantasy for 4 violas.

Beginning of the first large-scale work, Structures op. 7, which would be completed in 1981.


1977-79: participated in Nathan Milstein’s master classes in Zürich

1977: returned to conducting study (diploma in 1980)

Expansion of international concert activity as violinist

Concerts with the Wiener Symphoniker and with the ORF Austrian Radio Orchestra (premiere of Robert Schollum’s Third Violin Concerto)

1979: founded the Trio des Trois Mondes, which then existed until 1981

1981: move to Geneva, active there as free-lance artist and composer

Composition of the Movimientos para Don José Haydn for the Wiener Kammerorchester,

Together with the US-American text author Alan Levy, conception of Just an Accident? A Requiem for Anton Webern and other Victims of the Absurd

1983: premiere of the chamber version in Vienna

1984: Numerous recitals. Debut in Paris (Salle Gaveau), in New York, and in the Alte Oper Frankfurt,

Collaboration with the Ensemble des 20ten Jahrhunderts in Vienna, for example as soloist in Berg’s Chamber Concerto on the occasion of the composer’s 100th birthday. Intensive occupation with the masterpieces of the 20th century

1986: composition of the first part of Fragments of a Dream Play op. 13

New version of Just an Accident? A Requiem for Anton Webern and other Victims of the Absurd op. 9 for the 50th anniversary of the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra, premiered there under the direction of Philippe Entremont.

September: the Ernst Krenek Prize (City of Vienna), with Krenek and the text author Alan Levy

Premiere of Divertissements Suisses op. 10 in Carnegie Hall, New York

Toured Sweden with the Ensemble des 20ten Jahrhunderts as soloist in his own work Fragments of a Dream Play

USA: recital tour, with a debut in Carnegie Hall and master classes at the University of California in Santa Barbara and at the Philips Exeter Academy


1987: together with the composers Eugene Hartzell and Erik Freitag, founded the Ensemble Wiener Collage

First concert of the ensemble at the Musikprotokoll of the Styrian Autumn

From 1987-94 member of the Wiener Streichersolisten

Premiere of the first versions of the commissioned works Songs of Love and Longing and also ... Ich bin es, ohne dass es mir gleicht ... op. 19 at the Musikprotokoll in Graz


1988: guest lecturer at the UCSB. Concerts in France, recital tour in England and Ireland

1988: definitive return to Vienna


Since fall 1988 member of the Vienna State Opera Orchestra

1990/91: composition of the first part of the Metamorphoses of a Labyrinth op. 22a for the Wiener Streichersolisten. Premiere of the work at the 1991 Festival de Paris with the composer as soloist.

Began composition of the Gemini cycle


In the Mozart year 1991 the EWC is invited to present works of Mozart and of contemporary Austrian composers in Japan and in the USA

1992: Austrian premiere of Metamorphoses of a Labyrinth op. 22a in the Wiener Musikverein cycle commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Vienna Philharmonic


1992: the EWC, conducted by René Staar, presents upon the wish of Krenek’s widow the Ernst Krenek Memorial Concert at the Wiener Festwochen

November 1992 premiere of the new version of Metamorphoses of a Labyrinth op. 22a in Tokyo, played by the Wiener Streichersolisten

Three works were written between December 1992 and July 1993: Metropolitan Midnight Music op. 22d  for large orchestra, La Fontaine de Sang op. 22b for violin and orchestra (in 2000 revised for Kent Nagano and his Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin), and the six sketches for string quartet titled Vanished Dreams. Six Sketches for String Quartet op. 22c, which were premiered November 1993 in the cycle of the Kuchl Quartet in the Wiener Musikverein

June 1993: the EWC presents its first dialog symposium with Austrian and Slovak composers in Dolna Krupa. Further symposiums were presented in 1994 in Odessa and in 1996 in Milan und Salzburg

The Wiener Streichersolisten tour France under the direction of René Staar

Fall 1994: composition and premiere of the Europe Fanfares op. 28 and the fifth Divertissements Suisses op. 10 (first version)

Starting in fall 1994 guest professor at the Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Graz
EWC: portrait concert for Zdzislaw Wysocki on his 50th birthday, conducted by René Staar

1995: encouraged by Christoph von Dohnanyi, began the composition of the Clichés. Fragments in four parts op. 22e

Since April 1995 director and conductor of the Ensemble Graz—St. Petersburg, a string orchestra of 26 musicians formed by students of the music academies of these two cities. The ensemble plays concerts in Graz and in St. Petersburg


Publication of the first Ensemble Wiener Collage CD, with works of Zdzislaw Wysocki

First appearance of the ensemble at the melos-ethos festival in Bratislava

1996: completion of the Bagatelles on the Name of György Ligeti op. 14/3a for piano.

Rinne Ten-Sho op. 30 written as commission of Wien Modern for a concert of the Tokyo International Music Ensemble on November 11th in the Mozartsaal of the Vienna Konzerthaus


1997: EWC concerts in Milan and in Turkey. Concert at the festival Hörgänge in Vienna, where Friedrich Cerha conducts his work Concertino, written for the ensemble. Austrian premiere of Fragments of a Dream Play op. 13 (composed 1986)

First appearances of the newly founded Ensemble Wien-Paris, together with the French pianist Roger Muraro. The ensemble devotes itself to the piano quartet and piano quintet literature.

1997: marathon concert of the EWC on the occasion of its 10thanniversary, concerts in Budapest, Trieste, and Rome

Cover of the score (by T. Nardelli)

1998: publication of the CD »10 Jahre Ensemble Wiener Collage«

The EWC participated in the opening festival of the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna and has since then collaborated with this institution, where it has its own concert cycle

Concerts of the EWC in Lisbon and at the festival Kontraste in Lvov

1999: complete performance of the Bagatelles on the Name of György Ligeti op. 14/3a by Johannes Marian on March 3. 1999 in the Arnold Schoenberg Center

1999: Composition of the first version of Fortunes of War for the project Da Capo al Capone

Together with Dieter and Ulrich Kaufmann, Erik Freitag, Georg Amanshauser, Amy Leverenz, and Eugene Hartzell, worked on the project Da Capo al Capone, a co-production of the K & K Experimental Theater and the EWC

2000: Began the composition of Cat Music op. 38/1.

Began the composition Descendances imaginaires op. 22f.

Completion of the first book of the Gemini Duets (15 pieces).

2000: concert of the EWC in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall, with works by Cerha, Webern, Krenek, Wysocki, Pantchev, Bartók, and Staar

In conjunction with the Vienna Philharmonic, which had played a memorial concert in the concentration camp Mauthausen the evening before, a concert in the Arnold Schoenberg Center with Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon and works by Krenek and Bartók

EWC: Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with Anja Silja as soloist

EWC: memorial concert for Eugene Hartzell

2002: on May 26th, premiere of La Fontaine de Sang op. 22b in the larger auditorium of the Sender Freies Berlin by the Deutsches Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Peter Hirsch, with Tibor Kovác as soloist


2003: On June 27th, premiere of Hammabbul (oratorio about Noah and the deluge) by the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Choir of the Bavarian Radio conducted by Marcello Viotti.

Second performance on June 28th in Nuremberg

On June 29th, conducted by the composer, the premiere of the last version of Metamorphoses of a Labyrinth op. 22a in the Philharmonic Hall of St. Petersburg by the Wiener Streichersolisten. This work was dedicated to the city of St. Petersburg for its 300th anniversary and was played as part of the »White Nights« festival.

On June 30th, Finnish premiere of the same work at the Mikkilä Festival


August 8, 2003: first appearance of the EWC at the Salzburg Festival

2004: As part of a guest concert of the EWC in New York, US premieres of the Bagatelles on the Name of György Ligeti op. 14/3a (Johannes Marian, piano) and of Jam Session »for Fritz« op. 14/6.


2005: completion of the orchestral work Clichés.

2005: the EWC presents Austrian composers at the Quincena Musical de San Sebastián in the Basque country,

and presents for the first time an enacted Christmas concert in the ASC with works by Arnold Schoenberg and by living composers from all of Europe. Since then the EWC presents a similar concert every other year


2006: playing in the Arnold Schoenberg Center, the EWC presents programs featuring the Austrian composer Herbert Lauermann

The Ensemble Wiener Collage rehearses in the Marinsky Theatre, St Petersburg

July 2007: as part of the White Nights festival, the EWC is the first chamber ensemble to play in the newly built concert hall of the Marinsky Theatre, performing Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire with Sylvie Rohrer as soloist

November 2007: playing in the Wiener Musikverein as part of the Wien Modern festival, the EWC presents several premieres, of Alexander Stankovski, René Staar, and others

May 2008: As part of a guest concert of the EWC in Beijing, Chinese premiere of the Bagatelles on the Name of György Ligeti op. 14/3a (Johannes Marian, piano)

November 2008: performance by the Vienna Philharmonic of Just an Accident? A Requiem for Anton Webern and other Victims of the Absurd op. 9 in the large hall of the Vienna Musikverein with Daniel Harding as conductor and Marisol Montalvo and Dale Duesing as speakers

2008: publication of an Ensemble Wiener Collage CD with René Staar as conductor, devoted to the oeuvre of Eugene Hartzell (1932-2000)


June 2009: premiere of P. B. forever op. 14/10 with Pierre Boulez conducting the Ensemble Wiener Collage, in the Arnold Schoenberg Center.

On October 23rd: premiere of the first version of the Cantata on the Name of Hartmut Krones and on Latin Proverbs op. 14/11, by the EWC and the Arnold Schoenberg Choir with Erwin Ortner and René Staar as conductors

2009: the EWC collaborates with Pierre Boulez and with the Arnold Schönberg Chor

René Staar and Pierre Boulez


April 2010: conducted by René Staar, the EWC plays in a personal concert for Alfred Melichar in the Brucknerhaus Linz

June 9th, 2011: first complete performance of the Structures op. 7 I-VI by the EWC in a concert given in the Arnold Schoenberg Center for the composer’s 60th birthday

René Staar conducts the Sichuan Conservatory Symphony Orchestra

2010/2011: playback recordings for the first volume of the Violin Method

2010/2011: teaching in Sechuan, China

2012 Schoenberg Academy for composers from Russia, China, and USA: conducts the closing concert with premieres of works of 19 composers



June 18th, 2016: the pianist Izumi Tateno performs for the very first time René Staar’s Fantastic Dances op. 22l, scored for piano left-hand and small orchestra, at the Daiichi Seimei Hall in Tokyo. He was accompanied by the Tokyo Juventus Philharmonic conducted by Ms. Kenshiro Sakairi.

Additional performance on November 10th at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, this time with the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mr. Ken Takaseki.

  World premiere of Раз в крещенский вечерок op.22o bis ("Once Upon a Time, in the Coldest Night of the Year") for soprano, speaker, and seven instruments, at the Christmas concert in the Arnold Schoenberg Center, on December 15, 2016. In a "staged concert", René Staar conducted the Ensemble Wiener Collage.
2017: Performances of Time Recycling op. 22n at the Vienna Musikverein und at Carnegie Hall, New York  
2017: Release from orchestral service into the sphere of freelance artistry
  2018 und 2019: »30 Years of Ensemble Wiener Collage« are celebrated with a series of concerts, accompanied by the release of a Collection of Essays, containing numerous essays be René Staar
2020 Launch of own youtube channel 2020: Commission for the Tonhalle Düsseldorf to write a work for a Human Rights Concert

The premiere of Black Snow op. 22q, scheduled for March 19, 1922, had to be postponed due to corona.