His international career took off after winning the prestigious ARD International Music Competition in Munich. Until 1976 he was concertmaster for cellos in the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He has been one of the founders and members of several renowned ensembles—the Twelve Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Soloists, and the Brandis Quartet. He relinquished his position with the orchestra in order to concentrate on solo performances and his work as an educator at the Berlin University of the Arts. His recordings as cellist have been released on such labels as Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, and Nimbus among others.