Christian Zacharias

Resident of Festival

One must ‘speak’ music…” Christian Zacharias is a narrator among the conductors and pianists of his generation. In each of his elaborate, detailed and clearly articulated interpretations, Zacharias is interested in what lies behind the notes.

With his distinctive combination of integrity, unique style, surpassing linguistic expressiveness, deep musical insight and assured artistic instinct paired with his charismatic and captivating personality, Christian Zacharias has made a name for himself not only as one of the world’s leading pianists and conductors, but also as a musical thinker. Beginning as a pianist and later moving on to work as a conductor as well, his international career burgeoned through numerous widely acclaimed concerts with the world’s leading orchestras, renowned conductors not to mention several awards and recordings.

In the 2017/18 season, Christian Zacharias takes over as first guest conducor of the Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid for the next three seasons and presents among other projects its Schumann Festival, which includes all four symphonies and the great Solokonzerte. Poetry without Words – Schumann’s music is a central point in Zacharias’ musical work and is thus also on offer at his concerts at the Zermatt Festival, in Gävle, Göteborg, Bucharest and Gdansk. Together with the Stuttgart Philharmonic, he builds on their successful musical collaboration and presents another Mozart/Bruckner program on tour in Germany. Internationally he appears in Montreal, Porto, Bilbao and Bergen, among others.

His selected piano recitals in Paris, Essen, Zurich and Lyon, among others, are dedicated to Haydn and Bach this season and in his piano lecture, he talks about Haydn “creation out of nothing?”.

Zacharias was a long-term Artistic Partner at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and is still deeply connected to the orchestra. He also maintains close ties with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Kammerorchester Basel, the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Bamberger Symphoniker. Zacharias also performs recitals in the major musical centres worldwide and collaborates with like-minded musicians such as Frank Peter Zimmermann, the Leipziger Streichquartett and Baiba Skride.

He regularly turns his attention to opera, leading productions of Mozart’s opera seria “La Clemenza di Tito”, “Le nozze di Figaro” and Offenbach’s “La Belle Hélène”. In early 2015, he conducted Otto Nicolai’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège. This production was awarded the “Prix de l´Europe Francophone” 2014/2015 by the Association Professionnelle de la Critique Théâtre, Musique et Danse.

Since 1990 he has appeared in several films: “Domenico Scarlatti in Sevilla”, “Robert Schumann – der Dichter spricht” (INA, Paris), “Zwischen Bühne und Künstlerzimmer” (WDR-Arte), “De B comme Beethoven à Z comme Zacharias” (RTS, Switzerland) and released a recording of all Beethoven piano concertos (SSR-arte).

Zacharias’ work in the world of music has earned him numerous awards and prizes, including the 2007 Midem Classical Award “Artist of the Year”. The French government also honoured him as an “Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres” and he was awarded for his contributions to culture in Romania in 2009. In 2016 he was named member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

During his time as Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, his recordings with the orchestra garnered widespread critical acclaim among the international press. Of note is his complete cycle of Mozart piano concertos, which won the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique and ECHO Klassik awards. His most recent recordings feature the four Schumann symphonies and C.P.E. Bach’s Berlin symphonies.

In 2015 and 2017, Christian Zacharias chaired the Jury of the Clara Haskil Competition and as president of the jury of the 2018 Geza Anda Competition he will conduct the final concert.