Born in Hannover (Germany), Karsten Dobers studied with Franz Beyer at Munich Musikhochschule, and with Siegfried Führlinger at the Vienna University of Music and Performing Arts. He went on to perfect his artistry under the tutelage of great string players such as Sandor Végh, Thomas Riebl, Serge Collot, Thomas Kakuska and Günter Pichler (the latter two were members of the Alban Berg Quartet).


As an orchestra musician, Dobers has formed part of Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and of the Orchestra of Vienna Volksoper. From 1994 to 1997 he was Principal Viola of the Basque National Symphony Orchestra (San Sebastián). A great number of symphony orchestras in France, Belgium and Spain have also invited him to perform in their ranks as guest principal viola. In the field of contemporary music, he has also made appearances with Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt) and Klangforum Wien (Vienna), and collaborated with many renowned contemporary composers, such as Lutoslawski, Carter, Xenakis, Ligeti, Henze, Messiaen and Holliger.


Karsten Dobers is also a passionate chamber musician. He was a member of the “Alt-Wien-Quartett” (Vienna) and of the Chamber Music Ensemble of Vienna Volksoper. He is founding member (2003) of the Novalis Quartet (Munich), with which he made numerous appearances all over Europe and recordings for Bavarian Radio-Television (BR), Oesterreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), and Spanish National Classical Radio (RNE).


In 2009 he founded the Isasi Quartet, which went on to record the complete string quartets of Andrés Isasi (1890-1940), a world premiere recording released in three volumes by Naxos International, hailed with glowing reviews by the international press. Along with the other members of the Isasi Quartet, Dobers is currently preparing the complete works for string quartet of Henri Marteau (1874-1934) for the German label CPO in collaboration with Bavarian Radio, Munich. The release will consist of three discs, and will include the participation of French mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes.

With organist Loïc Mallié, Karsten Dobers has recorded Harold in Italy by Hector Berlioz in a world première version for viola and organ, produced by the French record label Hortus.

As a chamber musician, Dobers has shared the podium with eminent musicians such as Pavel Vernikov, Philippe Graffin, Jérôme Pernôo, Roland Daugareil, Christoph Henckel, Pascal Devoyon, Yuzuko Horigome, Daniel Grosgurin, Alain Meunier, Sung-Won Young, Daejin Kim, Sung-Sic Young, Young-Ho Kim, the Quatuor Ebène (Paris) and the Quatuor Danel (Brussels), in recordings for radio-television broadcasting entities in Germany (HR, BR), Austria (ORF), Spain (RNE Radio Clásica, EITB), South Korea (KBS) and Belgium (VRT).


Karsten Dobers’ broad interests and talents extend likewise to teaching: he was Professor of Viola at the conservatory of Pau in Southwest France (2000-07), and served as music director of the conservatory symphony orchestras in Pau and in Bayonne. He has conducted a great number of symphony concerts in both France and Spain. Since 2002 he has been a full-time faculty member of Musikene, the Superior Music Academy of the Basque Country in San Sebastián (Spain), where he is Professor of Chamber Music and Orchestra Repertoire for Viola.


Karsten Dobers has served as director of the Department of Orchestral Repertoire at Musikene, where he currently trains viola players within the framework of the only Masters Degree in Orchestral Performance officially approved by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Culture.

Karsten Dobers has given a great number of masterclassses in Lübeck, Weimar, Graz, Milwaukee, Maastricht, Tallinn, Louvain, Bordeaux, Courchevel, Bordeaux, Lille, Biarritz, Vielha, Vilaller, Toledo, Nanjing and Havana.


The Spanish music press has hailed “the full, gorgeous sound of violist Karsten Dobers”.


Karsten Dobers plays a viola made by Romeo Antoniazzi in 1910, as well as a new viola, designed and created for him by Lionel Enard in 2015.

© Karsten Dobers, 2017. All rights reserved

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Karsten Dobers is a founding
member of the Isasi Quartet