Stephan Johannes Rieckhoff cellist


Born in Plochingen/Stuttgart (Germany ) in 1953, Stefan discovered happiness while « making music » within his own family at an early age.

His musical abilities were recognised at the age of 10 and he was invited to join the two orchestras in his native town of  Marburg, the Gymnase and Kammerorchester, as First Cello.

When 13 and 15 years old he entered the  Bundes-wettbewerb “Jugend musiziert competition and won his two first prizes for cello solo and for Trio with piano.

He then went for further studies in Detmold with André Navarra and in Freiburg with Prof. Christoph Henke.

He learned a lot from his mentors: Pierre Fournier, Janos Starker, Alexandre Stein, Werner Thomas - Mifune etc.

At 23 he was invited to play as leader of the cellos in the “Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim" under Paul Angerer.

Two years later he was invited by Rafael Kubelik to join the “Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks" in Munich. He stayed there for 6 years.

His life was enlightened through meeting great artists of this period - amongst them Leonard Bernstein – with whom he formed a relationship that had a serious influence on his life,  Mstislav Rostropovitch, Giulini, Celibidache, Ozawa, Muti etc. All helped to nurture his passion for playing and teaching the cello.

In 1984 he became First cello in the ’OSR, Suisse Romande Orchestra in Geneva /Sutz.

He also performs with the Bachcollegium München, the Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester Pforzheim and other orchestras. He also plays in chamber music groups and especially with his pianist brother Leonhard Rieckhoff.

His philosophy of music and the cello

1.  One needs to feel happy while playing.

2.  Technique needs to become so easy that it makes room for expression and listening without restraint.


In his teaching he uses:
Improvisation techniques for breathing and singing,

body balance and unity without clenching the instrument (being one with the instrument),

flexibility in all technical approaches and focussing one’s energy in the right part of the body,
development of mental work which allows him to think ahead on several levels simultaneously as the primary key to the path of development,
a method by which each step is as easy as a fascinating game.

His philosophy in brief: Your instrument is your best friend for  life.