Valentin Erben was born in 1945 to an Austrian family of musicians. From the very beginning, music occupied a predominant place in his life. At the age of five, he received his first cello lessons. His later studies led him to Munich (Walter Reichardt), Vienna (Tobias Kühne), and Paris (André Navarra). In 1968 he won the Munich International Music Competition of the ARD in the discipline of violoncello.
In 1970 he was a founding member of the Alban Berg Quartet. For thirty-eight years, the quartet traveled to musical centers throughout the world. Numerous prizewinning recordings bear witness to a trendsetting understanding of string quartet playing also for the coming generation. The disbandment of the quartet in 2008 gave him the freedom for other activities. Starting already in 2004, Erben participated in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra at the invitation of Claudio Abbado. For Erben, working under the renowned conductor was an inestimable enhancement of his understanding of music. Moreover, performances followed as soloist and in collaboration with actors, dancers, and also with other chamber music ensembles. He made a CD with the Belcea Quartet of Schubert’s String Quartet in C Major, op. post. 163, D. 956, and a recording of Arnold Schoenberg’s string sextet Verklärte Nacht with the Quatuor Ysaÿe (and Isabel Charisius). Erben had previously made CD recordings of string sextets with his meanwhile deceased quartet colleague Thomas Kakuska and the Artemis Quartet. Valentin Erben taught violoncello for forty years at the Vienna University of Music. For a period of twenty years, the members of the Alban Berg Quartet conducted a master class for chamber music at the Cologne College of Music. Erben is still often invited as an instructor at chamber music courses throughout the world. The present CD is the result a serendipitous artistic collaboration of many years with the outstanding young pianist Shani Diluka.
Valentin Erben plays an instrument by Matteo Goffriller from 1720, the “ex-Fournier” and “ex- Yo-Yo Ma”, which was kindly put at his disposal by the Merito String Instrument Trust.