Ulrich Heinen was born in 1946 in Ittenbach near Bonn, Germany. He studied at the Cologne Conservatoire under Siegfried Palm and at the Juilliard School of Music in New York, USA under Leonard Rose. He won several national and international competitions: First prize in the Cello Competition of German Musikhochschulen (Frankfurt), the Rostropovich Competition in La Rochelle, France, and the Vittorio Gui Competition in Florence, Italy.
In 1973 he took up the position of principal cello with the Radio Orchestra of Saarbrücken, Germany under the composer-conductor Hans Zender and in the same year became a member of the Czapary String Trio, also in Germany, where he earned an outstanding reputation for the performance of contemporary music.
In 1984 Ulrich Heinen settled in England, following Sir Simon Rattle’s invitation to become principal cellist (co-section leader) of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. His formidable technique and musicianship allowed him to further develop his solo career with numerous recitals, concerto performances and regular appearances as recitalist on BBC Radio 3.
In 1987 he co-founded the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG), which subsequently became one of Britain’s most important ensembles for contemporary music. He has appeared with BCMG in many festivals in Britain and abroad, both as member of the ensemble and as soloist.
His engagements as soloist include the Spitalfields Festival in London, the Proms, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Triennale Festival in Cologne and the Salzburg Festival. He has recorded Mozart’s Concerto for Violin, Viola and Cello (fragment) for Decca and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Kai , under Sir Simon Rattle, for EMI.