Michael Hell

Michael Hell am Cembalo
© Matthias Wagner

Michael Hell

Michael Hell, born in North Rhine-Westphalia, is a virtuoso on both the recorder and the harpsichord whose reputation extends far beyond his adopted home of Graz. He is also a leading expert in basso continuo and historical performance practice, who knows how to convey the rules and history of his art with infectious enthusiasm.

About the artist

Michael Hell zwischen Notenpulten


Michel Hell holds the position of university professor for harpsichord and basso continuo at the Institute for Early Music and Performance Practice of the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria. He is also the musical director of the ensemble Ārt House 17 and has received a number of major international awards for his passionate recorder performances.

On stage

Since completion of his studies, he has built up a busy performance career as a soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. He has given concerts all over the globe, with appearances in Belgium, Germany, China, Estonia, France, the UK, Japan, Israel, Columbia, Latvia, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the USA.

From 2010 to 2020, he led the ensemble Neue Hofkapelle Graz in artistic co-direction with the baroque violinist Lucia Froihofer. With this ensemble, based in Graz, he programmed and performed three orchestral and chamber music concert cycles per year, in addition to numerous family concerts and children’s programs. Known for their innovative productions, they were regular guests at the Styriarte music festival. He has also worked in collaboration with such institutions as the Kölner Philharmonie, Potsdamer Musikfestspie- len, Festival Alte Musik Knechtsteden, Bad Arolser Barockfestspielen, Kölner Festival für Alte Musik and the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht. Michael Hell is especially known for his use of unorthodox concert formats, which led him to establish Ārt House 17, an ensemble dedicated to music theater productions.

Michael Hell was also the musical director of the acclaimed 2016 and 2017 music theater production “Musica Fugit”, a collaboration with the zamus ensemble (Cologne) and the Kamchàtka theater group (director: Adrian Schvarzstein). This production was repeated at the Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht in 2017, where it was received to great success. In 2017, he undertook the musical direction of Styriarte music festival’s central production: La Margarita was a combined equestrian ballet and baroque opera pasticcio, which was broadcast on television stations all across Europe.

Two instruments

As a harpsichordist and recorder player, he has appeared on many CD recordings, as well as on numerous radio and television productions. For example, the 2011 Ensemble La Fenice CD “Un Camino de Santiago” featured Michael Hell on the harpsichord, organ, recorder, and as a singer (ricercar) while the debut CD of the Neue Hofkapelle Graz featured him performing the works of Johann Joseph Fux (querstand). In 2015, the first-ever complete recording of the recorder sonatas of the French-English recorder virtuoso James Paisible was released on the paladino music label, with Michael Hell performing with the ensemble Musicke’s Pleasure Garden. 2016 saw the first full recording of Fux’s “Concentus musico instrumentalis” with the Neue Hofkapelle Graz (cpo) and in 2018 the CD “L’Immagine di Corelli” appeared on the querstand label, a collaboration with Michael’s col- league and duo partner Susanne Scholz over different versions of Arcangelo Corelli’s Op. 5 sonatas.


He recorded six harpsichord concertos with the Neue Hofkapelle Graz for the CD “Styrian harpsichord concertos”, which was released on cpo in the summer of 2019 and featured Michael playing on an original Austrian instrument from 1755 as well as its copy. In 2020, he produced another special continuo project with the recorder player An- dreas Böhlen: the first of two CDs with the brilliantly virtuosic and harmonically-challenging sonatas of Giuseppe Sammartini (aeolus).

When he is not performing, Michael can be found out in the hills on his motorcycle.

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