The violist Helmut Nicolai was born in Königsberg and during his study in Hamburg won the chamber music prize of the German Music Schools and the Bordeaux Biennale. In 1967 he joined the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra and from 1968 to 1990 was a member of the Berlin Philharmonic, followed by service as principal viola with the Munich Philharmonic. In addition to solo appearances under Sergiù Celibidache with the Munich Philharmonic, he has also played on all continents as a member of the Consortium Classicum. He was a soloist in the Chinese capital, Beijing, with the violinist H. Ernst, in Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante, and his chamber music partners have included Christoph Eschenbach, Thomas Brandis, James Galway and Christian Gerhaher. He has recorded for EMI, Decca Philips and Orfeo, and in 1991 became a founder member of the Rosamunde Quartet, winning various prizes and a Grammy nomination.