Born in Vienna, Austria Dorothea Schönwiese was granted a 2 year scholarship for the Juilliard School of Music at the age of 9. She then studied with Tobias Kühne in Vienna, with Heidi Litschauer in Salzburg, with Rocco Filippini in Milan and with Ralph Kirshbaum in Manchester. Master classes with Heinrich Schiff, William Pleeth and Paul Tortelier widened her musical horizon during her studies.
She was also strongly influenced by the great violinist and teacher Sandor Végh. She played in his Camerata Academica Salzburg for 2 years during her studies in Salzburg and had unforgettable lessons with him – a rare privilege for a cellist.
The other main influence in developing her individual style came from Nikolaus Harnoncourt whose classes for performance practice at the Mozarteum in Salzburg she visited regularly. Here she was able to study Bach’s solo suites for cello with him in addition to a number of chamber music works.
She was principal cellist in the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (Claudio Abbado) and was repeatedly invited as guest principal and continuo cellist in the Radio Symphonieorchester Wien as well as the Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg.
Dorothea is now principal cellist of Ensemble Prisma (Thomas Fheodoroff) and Ensemble Claudiana (Luca Pianca).
In 1990 she was first invited to join the Concentus Musicus Wien and has been playing principal and continuo cello there since 2011.
For many years she had a great interest in contemporary music and played regularly in Klangforum Wien, Ensemble xx. Jahrhundert and Österreichisches Ensemble für Neue Musik.
Dorothea’s main focuses are now playing continuo cello and chamber music.
She has played and is playing in a wide spectrum of chamber groups ranging from period piano trio (Wiener Fortepiano Trio) to classical string quartet (Anton Webern Quartett Wien) and contemporary music ensemble (Ernst Krenek Ensemble) to name only a few.
She lives in Vienna as a freelance musician.