Kolja Blacher was born in Berlin. At fifteen, he went to New York to study violin under Dorothy DeLay at the Julliard School of Music, later completing his studies under Sŕˇndor Végh in Salzburg before embarking on a remarkable solo career. He has held a professorship in violin and chamber music at the Hochschule fŕĽr Musik in Hamburg since October 1999.
His solo career has led to performances with various important orchestras, among them the Berliner Phiharmoniker, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Oslo Philharmonic orchestra, the MŕĽnchner Philharmoniker, the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Kolja Blacher works with leading conductors including Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Carlo Maria Giulini, Vladimir Yurovsky, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, Dimitri Kitayenko, Lorin Maazel and Jonathan Nott. He maintains a deep musical friendship with Claudio Abbado and regularly takes his place within the conductor's Lucerne Festival Orchestra, an ensemble founded by Abbado in 2003 and almost entirely made up of solo musicians.
Just as intensive are his chamber music partnerships with the cellist Natalia Gutman and the pianists Vassilij Lobanov and Bruno Canino, with whom he often plays trio concerts and gives recitals.
Kolja Blacher is the subject of an extensive documentary film made by the Berlin broadcaster SFB (now RBB). He won the "Diapason d'Or" for his recording of Boris Blacher's violin concerto and his recording of Hindemith's "Kammermusik Nr 4" under Claudio Abbado received the Deutsche Schallplattenkritik's Vierteljahrespreis (quarterly prize) and was awarded the title "Best Small Ensemble Performance". He has also recorded the Bach violin concerti and his latest disc, a collection of violin sonatas by Schumann, Bartók and Holliger (with Bruno Canino at the piano) has received enthusiastic press attention. In the words of Fono Forum, "His recordings display not only an extraordinary technical mastery of his instrument, but also a deeply reflective musicality." In 2006, Deutsche Grammophon released a live recording of the violin concertos by Igor Stravinsky and Alban Berg recorded in Italy with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra under Claudio Abbado.
Kolja Blacher plays the so-called "Tritton" Stradivari violin from 1730, which has been bought and loaned to Mr. Blacher by Ms. Kimiko Powers in connection with the Nippon Violin Museum.