Chaim Steller

“It is all about communicating emotion to people”

Chaim Steller - Viola

Chaim Steller arrived in May 2007 in Orchestra Mozart and he has been one of its members ever since. Being part of the Orchestra Mozart was an amazing experience for him; Chaim is convinced that the OM conveys emotions to the public but also to the musicians. He believes that OM realized the incredible task of gathering together young musicians and confirmed ones with breathtaking results.

One of Chaim’s best memories with Orchestra Mozart is linked to what happened during a concert in Ravenna. The weather was really bad; they were playing the 6th symphony of Beethoven, the Pastorale. And when they started playing the “storm part” of the symphony, suddenly a real storm broke out! Claudio Abbado and the musicians, totally enthralled by music and nature, played louder and louder and this created and incredible atmosphere, making the interpretation of this Pastorale an unforgettable memory.


Chaim Steller, born in 1983 in Amsterdam, started playing the violin age 4, and with 16 decided to switch to viola. He studied at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Marjolein Dispa, and continued his studies with Wolfram Christ in Freiburg, where he obtained his “soloist” diploma with the highest honours in 2009. In the following two years Chaim studied chamber music in Berlin with the Artemis Quartett.

Masterclasses and collaborations with musicians such as Alfred Brendel, Lars Anders Tomter, Thomas Riebl, Antoine Tamestit and Jörg Widmann continue to complete his musical education.

Chaim Steller has been playing as assistant principal violist of the Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin under Iván Fischer since June 2015, after his time as first principal with the Duisburger Philharmoniker/Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Since May 2007 Chaim has been playing in the Orchestra Mozart under maestro Claudio Abbado and other well-known conductors such as Trevor Pinnock and Bernard Haitink. By personal invitation of M° Abbado, he has also been playing in the Lucerne Festival Orchestra since 2008. Additionally, Chaim works regularly as guest principal with orchestras like the Australian Chamber Orchestra, the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester and the NDR Orchester Hamburg.

Along with American violinist Joseph Puglia and Hungarian cellist Örs Kőszeghy, Chaim founded Trio Dumas, with whom he recorded for Hungarian record label Hungaroton.    

Chaim Steller was prize winner at the 42nd International Competition for Viola in Markneukirchen (Germany), and the National Viola Competition in Amsterdam. He was awarded the Gustav Scheck Prize of the Commerzbank in 2008 for outstanding achievements as a student of the University of Arts in Freiburg, and the Alice-Samter-prize with his string quartet from the University of Arts Berlin.

A committed player of 20th century and contemporary music, Chaim participated a number of times in the Lucerne Festival Academy, where he played both in chamber music formations as well as in the orchestra as principal violist under conductors such as Pierre Boulez and Péter Eötvös. 

He collaborated with composers such as Boulez, Eötvös, and Márton Illés on their pieces, and premiered works by Eötvös, Lachenmann, Pintscher and Stockhausen.

Chaim Steller plays a 1959 Max Möller viola from Amsterdam.

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Video interview with Chaim Steller – viola

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