Biography

From the Tölzer Knabenchor as a boy alto soloist to singing at major concert halls, festivals and opera houses, German bass-baritone Christian Immler is an unusually versatile artist with the rare ability to switch enthusiastically between the worlds of oratorio and opera. He studied with Rudolf Piernay at the Guildhall School of Music in London and won the International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Competition in Paris, launching his career.

In concert, he has immersed himself in the works of Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Mahler and, particularly, Bach, appearing all over world. Christian has worked with such conductors as Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Marc Minkowski, Christophe Rousset, Philippe Herreweghe, Ivor Bolton, Daniel Harding, Kent Nagano, James Conlon, Andrew Parrott, Michel Corboz, Masaaki Suzuki, Raphaël Pichon, Ottavio Dantone, Giovanni Antonini, Thomas Hengelbrock, Frieder Bernius, Rubén Dubrovsky, William Christie and Leonardo García Alarcón performing at places such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Sydney Opera House, the Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence and Lucerne Festivals and the BBC Proms. Recent highlights include a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah at the Gewandhaus Leipzig, a series of televised broadcasts of all of Bach’s major sacred works and a staged version of Mozart’s Requiem.

Alongside his concert work, Christian’s operatic career is flourishing. He starred as both Commendatore and Masetto in Don Giovanni with René Jacobs, Speaker in The Magic Flute with Christophe Rousset at Dijon Opera and with Raphaël Pichon at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence (directed by Simon McBurney), Eremit with Laurence Equilbey and the Insula Orchestra in Freischütz in Brussels and the Theater an der Wien, 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 in Poppea and the title role in Graupner’s Antiochus und Stratonica at the Boston Early Music Festival BEMF, Achis in David & Jonathas conducted by William Christie, Jupiter in Castor et Pollux with Raphaël Pichon at the Opéra Comique and Pharnaces in Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In 2015 Christian recorded Steffani’s Niobe whose recording received a Grammy Nomination.

The 2019/20 season will see him sing Rocco in Beethoven’s Leonore with René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester and Freischütz at the Opéra de Rouen and the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées with Laurence Equilbey. He will head to the Opéra de Massy for Acis and Galatea before touring Europe with Masaaki Suzuki, touring France under the direction of Raphaël Pichon, performing with René Jacobs and Akamus in Berlin and then Beethoven’s 9th Symphony and Missa solemnis with the NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo.

A keen recitalist, Christian has been invited to perform at the Wigmore Hall in London, the Frick Collection in New York, the Paris Philharmonie, the Salzburg Mozarteum, and the Tonhalle Zurich. An acclaimed Winterreise happened at the last minute in the Schubertiade Hohenems together with pianist Helmut Deutsch, a longtime partner with whom he released the album entitled Modern Times which was awarded both the ‘Diamant d’Opéra’ and the prestigious ‘Diapason Découverte’. Their latest CD, devoted exclusively to the newly discovered lieder of Hans Gál and displaying Christian’s  particular interest in 20th Century ʻEmigré Composersʼ will be released imminently. He collaborates regularly with Christoph Berner, Kristian Bezuidenhout and Danny Driver and alongside his impeccable Lied pedigree retains a soft spot for Leonard Bernstein and Cole Porter.

His more than 50 recordings have been awarded prizes such as a 2016 Grammy Nomination, the Echo Klassik, the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, several Diapason d’Or, Diamant d’Opéra and France Musiques’ Enregistrement de l’année. Much in demand for worldwide masterclasses, Christian is Professor of Voice at the Kalaidos Fachhochschule in Zurich. He has taught the Lied and oratorio class at the International Summeracademy Mozarteum Salzburg on several occasions and in December 2019 will return to the International Nadia et Lili Boulanger Competition in Paris, this time as a member of the jury.