Baritone Christian Gerhaher had a meteoric rise after his 1998 victory in the New York/Paris-shared Prix International Pro Musicis. Gerhaher subsequently developed a major career on both the operatic and recital stages. His repertory has tended to favor the Germanic composers, taking in J.S. Bach cantatas and oratorios; operas by Mozart, von Weber, and Wagner; lieder by Schubert, Brahms, and Mahler; and concert works by Haydn, Mendelssohn,Read more Brahms, and Mahler. But he has hardly restricted himself to the German sphere, having performed Orff's Carmina Burana, Britten's War Requiem, Monteverdi's Orfeo, and much else. Gerhaher possesses a very distinct, attractive voice, a bit higher in the baritone range than is usual. He has performed at many of the major recital halls and operatic venues, and with an impressive list of conductors that includes Harnoncourt, Rilling, Rattle, Muti, Colin Davis, Marriner, Pinnock, Herreweghe, Inbal, and Conlon. Gerhaher has made numerous recordings in a relatively short period of time, most issued since 2000. They are available on DG, EMI, Sony, RCA, Arte Nova, Decca, Hänssler Classics, and Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. Gerhaher's résumé, apart from his considerable musical activity, is impressive: he holds a doctorate degree in medicine and has extensively studied philosophy.
Christian Gerhaher was born in the Bavarian city of Straubing on July 24, 1969. His major educational activity was in Munich: he studied voice with Paul Kuen and Raimund Grumbach and enrolled at the Musikhochschule Opera School there. He also studied medicine and philosophy simultaneously. Gerhaher later took master classes with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.
1998 was a pivotal year for Gerhaher: he obtained his medical degree, won the Prix International Pro Musicis, and joined the Stadttheater Würzburg, remaining a member until 2000. Meanwhile, he began making critically acclaimed appearances in lieder repertory with pianist Gerold Huber, including at Carnegie Hall, the Schubertiade in Feldkirch, and Wigmore Hall in London.
Gerhaher quickly built a reputation in opera, as well: his 2005 performance at the Frankfurt Opera in the title role of Orfeo drew rave notices. In the following season, Gerhaher appeared in Schubert's opera Alphonso und Estrella in Berlin and Schumann's oratorio Das Paradies und die Peri in Munich. Gerhaher's 2007-2008 schedule included a highly acclaimed North American tour with pianist Gerold Huber. Gerhaher's later recordings include the 2008 CD on Hänssler Classics of Britten's War Requiem, with conductor Rilling leading the Stuttgart Festival Ensemble. Read less