German musician Felix Klieser is not your typical French horn player. He has no arms for a start, and he’s also a virtuoso classical player to boot. The 32-year-old German was born with no arms but he didn’t let a minor inconvenience like that stop him from becoming a world-renowned French horn soloist.
Klieser, who hails from Göttingen, wowed music lovers with his playing on classical pieces such as Mozart’s Horn Concerto, No. 4, which you can watch below. The 32-year-old musician deftly plays the complex lead parts with his left foot, displaying a strong command of dynamics and technique.
Klieser, who was born on January 3, 1991, began playing the horn at age 4 and subsequently studied at the prestigious Hochschule für Musik Theater und Medien Hannover. He has released seven albums, amassing 116,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, which sure ain’t bad numbers for an instrumental French horn soloist.
Naturally, his awe-inspiring performances have also been quite a hit on YouTube. One of his most popular videos is his version of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 2 with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, which you can watch below, where as soloist he plays the beautiful melodies with aplomb.
While speaking to ITV News ahead of his Royal Albert Hall debut in London earlier this year, Klieser said he likes to think of himself as a “problem-solver” who “focuses on the art of the possible,” which is no doubt key to his success.
The virtuoso’s playing position seems quite hard on the body at first, with his left leg held far up in the air for extended periods of performing. However, he said that he’s grown used to playing that way and “it’s a very relaxed position so it’s a position where I can spend hours per day. The lips get tired but never the feet.”
Music fans on YouTube hailed his achievements as a soloist as inspiring, adding comments such as “Amazing! It shows that anything in life is achievable” and “I wish I could sit like that, let alone play so well. It’s astonishing.”
Further adding to his achievements as a player, Klieser plays with only a single limb, whereas traditionally horn players use both hands – manipulating the valves with their left hand and the bell with their right. Instead, Klieser manages to recreate the effect of using the right hand on the bell exclusively by using his mouth.
Klieser clearly has a soft spot for Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, featuring the great man’s work in both the videos above. Klieser completed his long-held dream of recreating all four of Mozart’s horn concertos in his 2019 album, which featured 11 tracks and 52 minutes of music. His appreciation for 18th-century Austrian composers goes beyond Mozart, as he also completed an album based on the works of Joseph Haydn, as well as the recreating the works of greats from other eras such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, Richard Strauss and George Frideric Handel.