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: 1st prize of the Cello Competition of German Musikhochschulen (Frankfurt), Rostropovitch Competition La Rochelle, France and Vittorio Gui Competition Florence, Italy. In 1973 he took up the position of principal cello with the Radio Orchestra Saarbruecken, Germany and in the same year joined the Czapary String Trio, where he earned an outstanding reputation for the performance of contemporary music.
In 1984 Ulrich settled in England, at Sir Simon Rattle’s invitation to become principal cellist (co-section leader) of the CBSO. 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 Spitafields Festival London, the Proms, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Triennale Festival in Cologne and the Salzburg Festival. He has recorded Mark Anthony Turnage’s Kai (conducted by Sir Simon Rattle) for EMI and Bach’s cello suites 1-5, together with cello solo pieces by Howard Skempton, Gerald Barry, Simon Holt, Bernd Alois Zimmermann and Hans Werner Henze for METIER (Divine-Arts).