From the Tölzer Knabenchor as a boy alto to singing as a soloist at major concert halls all over the world, German baritone Christian Immler has spent years making music of the highest quality. Having studied at the Guildhall in London with Rudolf Piernay, Christian won the International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Competition in Paris in 2001, launching his baritone career.
Although also known for singing Handel, Haydn, Mozart and, increasingly, Mahler, running down the spine of Christian’s career has been the music of J S Bach. Having sung the B minor Mass, St John Passion and St Matthew Passion with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, he has also performed these works with Philippe Herreweghe, Daniel Harding, Michel Corboz, Jos van Veldhoven, Leonardo García Alarcón (receiving a ‘Diapason d’Or’ for ‘Music for Weddings’ by Bach and Böhm) and Ensemble Pygmalion (‘Editor’s Choice’ in the Gramophone for Masses BWV 233/236).
Christian’s musical interests and talents are very broad. Recent projects have included Handel’s Dixit Dominus with Concentus Musicus and Ivor Bolton, Krenek’s Orpheus with Lothar Zagrosek (Berlin Konzerthaus), Mozart’s C minor Mass with Giovanni Antonini (Salzburg Festival), the world premiere of Hellstenius’s The moon eats humans (Bergen Festival), C. P. E. Bach’s Magnificat with Ottavio Dantone, Christmas Oratorio with Akademie für alte Musik Berlin, Weill’s Berliner Requiem at the Lucerne Festival, Krenek’s Reisebuch with Radio Svizzera Italiana and Graziella Contratto, Mahler Songs with the Ensemble Symphonique de Neuchâtel, Handel’s Messiah with Masaaki Suzuki, Telemann Cantatas with Andrew Parrott, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (Vancouver Festival) and Fauré’s Requiem with the Gulbenkian Orchestra.
As a recitalist, Christian has been hailed as one of the foremost Lieder singers of his generation, applauded for his particular interest in 20th Century ‘Emigré Composers’ such as Zemlinsky, Korngold, Eisler, Schreker and Gál. He has presented their works – as well as core Lieder repertoire by Schubert, Schumann and Wolf – in leading recital venues, such as the Wigmore Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, the Frick Collection in New York and the Salzburg Mozarteum, the latter with pianist Helmut Deutsch. Their CD Modern Times was recently awarded both the ‘Diamant d’Opéra’ and the prestigious ‘Diapason Découverte’.
Alongside his concert work, Christian’s operatic career has been flourishing. His most recent roles were Docteur Itard/Vicaire in the world premiere of Fénelon’s JJR (directed by Robert Carsen) and Dodo/Frog Footman/Mock Turtle in Unsuk Chin’s Alice in Wonderland at the Grand Théâtre de Genève. He has also sung Seneca (Poppea) at the Boston Early Music Festival, Förster (Cunning Little Vixen) for the Wiener Kammeroper, Ubalde (Armide) at New Israeli Opera, Achis (David & Jonathas) conducted by William Christie and Pharnaces in Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Christian will return to the BEMF in 2013 to sing Consalvo in Handel’s Almira.
His recordings include Bach B Minor Mass, Schubert Sakuntala (‘Diapason d’Or’), Continental Britons (five stars in BBC Music) and Albeniz’s Henry Clifford, all released to wide critical acclaim. Christian is professor of voice at the Conservatoire in Lausanne/Fribourg.