Jack Martin Händler


My message

Tolerance is not enough. It should lead to mutual understanding and acceptance. This needs all our creativity but also political will.

As a musician and conductor, I have deployed my spirit, energy and creativityto fight with my tools, i.e. our music and our concerts to positively bring people together and to contribute to further unify the European peoples. I trust that it is possible to live together in freedom and mutual respect, despite all the existing differences and diversities.


In my perception, music and art in general, develops the imaginative, intellectual, sensory and even physical faculties and hence all human potential. Cultural activities can be a source of internal equilibrium and of tolerance. They encourage a sense of union with others and with our environment. Therefore musical education can change people’s social behaviour and should be brought into the schools, if possible not as an optional subject…

What is most precious for me?

I believe that sharing is the best guarantee of peace and accepting each other. Music and arts exclude everything that destroys or harms the increase of harmony between people. Music and singing unites people with others, it harmonizes body and mind. Everybody is then somehow part of a “symphony”, which produces a collective effect on individual emotions and intellect.

Milestones in my life

Who influenced me…

My mother was 16 years old when she was deported to the Concentration Camp in Auschwitz. Alma Rosé (the niece of Gustav Mahler) was also captured there. She used to play the violin “inconceivably nice” as my mother said and helped her to forget and to survive. She swore that if she would ever be liberated and have a son, he should play violin. This is what I would call my personal “mother’s mark”…


My revelation was when David Oistrach, whose records I was listening during my childhood in our small flat in Bratislava, accepted me in 1972 to be his violin student at the Music Academy in Moscow. My worldview was influenced by Bruno Walter, conductor, composer and humanist, who made me understand that the artist’s role is to take the audience out of themselves and to unite them to a momentous “humanistic” harmony, which expresses the intensive experience of the artist. Another person I need to mention here is Menahem Pressler, whom I consider to be in a way my mentor and paternal friend.


Decisive experiences or events which shaped the path of my life

My father told me that music comes essentially from the soul and should be articulated by the muscles of the body. But it took me really years to understand that technique must take a spiritual line which involves the body. Being a young musician, musical education was based on harmony, not so much in a philosophical, but in a more musical meaning. Nowadays the education is based on other elements, like virtuosity, sound, style and even musicological considerations. All this is important, but it is not based on harmony. Therefore I believe it is necessary that I continue spending time with young musicians notably in the framework of the Music Academy of the TIJI (Tribune des Jeunes Interprètes) Unesco which I was entrusted with by Yehudi Menuhin.


Entrepreneurship, leadership

My role as a conductor is of course associated with leadership. Conducting is a profession. You have to have a solid knowledge of the music the orchestra is playing, of the style and the composer’s wishes and intentions. And then you have to communicate this to the orchestra and to motivate each individual musician. Interpreting together the opus is for me like a common breathing in and out. This common experience “animates” the concert, makes it a real symphonic event and gives it its distinctive spirit and character.

Regarding the contact to other people I would answer by referring to the Beethoven’s “Choral” Symphony No. 9, which became the European anthem, and which I conducted notably at the UN General Assembly in New York on 3 May 2004 at the occasion of the EU accession of the Central European countries.

It is known that this piece contains the iridescent sentence by F. Schiller “All men will become brothers”. It does not say all men are brothers, but we have to believe in it and to work for it.


My major achievements

Having gained the friendship and the faithfulness of quite a lot of listeners in Luxembourg and elsewhere in Europe, while I was, over a period of 20 years, the conductor and musical director of the Solistes Européens Luxembourg. But I prefer talking about new projects and goals that I am now looking forward to, like for example the upcoming activities of the Bruno Walter Symphony Orchestra and the Bruno Walter Festivals, which, I promise, will always be innovative …

I have published over the years about 80 CD recordings with various publishing houses (SEL Clacsic, Sonny Classical…).

Contact me


Solistes Européens, Luxembourg a.s.b.l.

8, rue J.P. Koenig / 2e étage
L-1865 Luxembourg

Mail: P.O. Box 74
L-2010 Luxembourg


+352 46 27 65-32 + 421 905 255 915

+352 22 98 14


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Logo: European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009
Jack Martin Händler

Jack Martin Händler