Kolja Lessing is one of the most versatile musicians of our time, as a violinist and a pianist he has given lasting impulses to today’s music through his work as interpreter and scientist. Due to his engagement Georg Philipp Telemann’s violin fantasies and Johann Paul Westhoff’s violin suites were rediscovered for the concert hall as well as many important piano works of the 20th century, among others those of Berthold Goldschmidt, Philipp Jarnach, Ignace Strasfogel and Wladimir Vogel. International renowned CD-productions show his stylistically differentiated engagement with repertoire from the baroque to the modern, including both standard works and rarities alike.
In recognition of his commitment to outlawed composers, he received the Johann Wenzel Stamitz Special Prize in 1999, and in 2008 he was awarded the German Critics’ Prize for Music.
Numerous perfomances of violin works, written for Kolja Lessing by composers like Alexander, Tzvi Avni, Abel Ehrlich, Jacqueline Fontyn, Berthold Goldschmidt, Ursula Mamlok and Dimitri Terzakis mirror his international reputation, so do regular invitations to master classes in Europe and North America. After professorships for violin and chamber music at the music academies in Würzburg and Leipzig he has worked in the same position at the music academy in Stuttgart since 2000.
Johannes Monnodiscovered his love for the guitar at the age of six. He extensively researched the history and playing style of vihuela da mano, baroque guitar and chitarrone – numerous publications, CDs, lecture series and radio recordings result from this occupation. In addition to chamber music collaborations with artists such as Wilfried Jochens, Olaf Van Gonnissen, Kolja Lessing, the Ensemble Rilegato and the Trio Gremonda, Johannes Monno has drawn attention with his thematically finely designed solo programs. Last year he released a highly acclaimed CD with all of Johann Sebastian Bach’s lute suites on Haenssler classic.
Early on, he was called to the music academies in Hamburg and Frankfurt. Since 2004 he has been working at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart. A number of international award winners studied with him. Alongside Thomas Müller-Pering and Olaf Van Gonnissen, Johannes Monno is editor of the Neue Karl Scheit series at UE.
Since 2004 Kolja Lessing & Johannes Monno have given concerts together on a regular basis. During this time, two extensive radio productions were created in addition to a video production. A particular concern of the collaboration is the rediscovery of original works and the expansion of the repertoire through transcriptions and arrangements.