Florian Birsak-Hayer, Univ.Prof.

University Professor in Harpsichord and Basso Continuo/ Ensemble Directing
Deputy Head of Department for Early Music

  • Hellbrunner Allee 53 (Room: DEG007)
  • 5020 Salzburg

In aiming to rediscover submerged sounds and escape the monotony of conventional concert life Florian Birsak seeks the variety of music for keyboard instruments and the rich nuances of the many different instruments of a past epoch. Florian Birsak plays the clavichord, harpsichord and fortepiano.  He is one of the few musicians who already during their childhood specialized in Early Music.


He received his musical training in Salzburg and in Munich where his teachers in harpsichord and performance practice were Lars Ulrik Mortensen, Liselotte Brändle, Kenneth Gilbert, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Anthony Spiri. Florian Birsak was successful in international competitions, for instance at the Flanders Festival in Bruges and at the International Mozart Competition in Salzburg.  In 2003, together with the cellist Isolde Hayer he was awarded the August Everding Prize of the Munich Concert Society. 


During his studies of the harpsichord Florian Birsak began to make an intensive analysis of piano chamber music of the Classical and Early Romantic periods and thus broadened his repertoire which was based on masterpieces of the late Renaissance.


A major part of his musical and academic interest lies in the appropriate execution of basso continuo in all its stylistic facets.  As a continuo player Florian Birsak thus frequently plays as a guest in ensembles such as the Camerata Salzburg, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the Orfeo Baroque Orchestra, Armonico Tributo, the Oman Consort, the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, the Camerata Berne and the Concentus Musicus Wien with conductors such as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Sir Roger Norrington, Sigiswald Kuijken, Giovanni Antonini, Christopher Hogwood, Ivor Bolton, Thomas Hengelbrock and others. 


Recently Florian Birsak has become increasingly involved in his own solo- and chamber music projects. In collections of music instruments, for instance in the German Museum in Munich, at the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna, the Salzburg Museum, the Ferdinandeum in Innsbruck, and also at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna he has organized several concerts and recordings.


Two of his most recent CD recordings (Mozarts Notenschrank and the first complete recording of Nannerl Mozart’s Music Book) are devoted to piano music played in Salzburg during Mozart’s childhood.  Furthermore, Florian Birsak’s playing is documented on recordings on renowned labels (Oehms Classics, ORF, Hänssler, Laska Records, Winter & Winter, etc.).


Florian Birsak’s teaching activity at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg is a further important aspect of his work.  He lectures on performance practice, historic theory of composition and ornamentation and also gives lessons on playing harpsichord, clavichord and continuo.