The principal clarinettist of the Vienna Philharmonic, and father to a clarinet dynasty, has died unexpectedly at age 62.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has been rocked by the tragic and unexpected death of its principal clarinettist, Ernst Ottensamer. Ottensamer, who was also principal clarinet of the Vienna State Opera, died of a heart attack on July 22 at age 62.

“The Vienna State Opera and the Vienna Philharmonic announce with deep sorrow the sudden death of long-time orchestra member Ernst Ottensamer, who has succumbed to a heart attack.” the Vienna State Opera said in a statement on its website. “This loss leaves a deep personal and artistic void. Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time.”

Ernst Ottensamer, The ClarinottsErnst Ottensamer with sons Daniel and Andreas Ottensamer. Photo © Lukas Beck

Ottensamer was born in Wallern in Upper Austria in 1955, studying clarinet first at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz the the Vienna Musikhochschule. He joined the Vienna State Opera Orchestra in 1979 and has been principal clarinet of the Vienna Philharmonic since 1983. He has taught at the Vienna Musikhochschule since 1983 and was...