Born 1988 in Winterthur, Switzerland, conductor and pianist Christian Erny has caught international attention as artistic director and founder of the vocal ensemble The Zurich Chamber Singers as well as a highly versatile pianist and sought after educator. An exclusive recording artist for Berlin Classics, Erny and and his ensemble have released two critically acclaimed CDs during the covid19-challenged season 20/21. The vocal magazine Chorzeit calls their work “a musical pleasure of the first order”, while the Aachener Zeitung praises the sound culture, which is “unparalleled”. “With O nata lux, the Zurich Chamber Singers finally sing their way into the top 10 of European chamber choirs,” states Image HiFi Magazine.
Most recently, Christian Erny conducted the Morphing Chamber Orchestra for a new recording with music by Arvo Pärt for the Aparté label alongside Roberto Alagna, Aleksandra Kursak and Andreas Scholl. He also worked with Roberto Gonzales Monjas and Ian Bostridge in a Bach cantata project of the Musikkollegium Winterthur. Along the ensembles he has conducted are the Morphing Chamber Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Strings, the Chor des Bayrischen Rundfunks, the Florianer Sängerknaben, the Orchestra of Europe, the baroque orchestra Les passions de l’Ame, the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, the Ruse Opera Orchestra and the Young Philharmonic Orchestra of Central Switzerland. He made his opera debut in 2019 at the Luzerner Theater. He was employed as musical assistant to the choirs of the Winterthur Conservatory from 2012 to 2018.
Erny’s passion for contemporary music and his sensitive and innovative programming have brought him together with some of todays important composers. He has premiered works by Arvo Pärt (EST), Rhiannon Rhandle (GB), Patrick Brennan (NIR), Kevin Hartnett (USA) and Julian Revie (USA). He also realized the world premiere recording of the work O magnum mysterium by the Norwegian composer Marcus Paus. Future engagements will lead to an exciting collaboration with the Pulitzer Price winning composer Caroline Shaw.
As a pianist Erny has recorded works by Lourié, Mozart, Schönberg, Debussy and Liszt. His recordings got nominated for the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Opus Klassik and have received further awards such as the Gramophone Editor’s Choice. In 2015 he received a prize for the best interpretation of a work by Arnold Schönberg at the Île de France International Piano Competition. He so far has given concerts in Europe, the USA and South America. In 2019 he was awarded the Cultural Achievement Prize of his home town Winterthur for his artistic work to date.
Initially trained as a pianist and chorister as well as being a rock musician and songwriter throughout his whole youth, the broad education that Christian Erny received from the age of six at the conservatory of his hometown Winterthur gives him the opportunity today to convince in the most diverse musical areas and to radiate a great stylistic diversity and confidence. His repertoire ranges from the vocal polyphony of the Renaissance to Baroque opera and symphonic music of the 20th century. He holds degrees from the Zurich University of the Arts, the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington (USA) and the Lucerne University. He studied orchestral conducting with Howard Arman and Christof Brunner, choral conducting with Markus Utz and piano with Hans-Jürg Strub and Jean-Louis Haguenauer. He received formative inspiration as a pianist at the Jiri Hlinka Piano Academy in Bergen (NO) from Leif Ove Andsnes and Eldar Nebolsin.
A passionate and sought after pedagogue, Christian Erny is lecturer for piano at the Basel University School of Music and head of the music pre-college department at the Pedagogical Seminary in Kreuzlingen. As a guest he has taught at the Renaissance Arts Academy in Los Angeles and at the Collegio Suizo in Santiago de Chile.
The Zurich Chamber Singers
Opus Klassik (Nomination, 2019)
«… Den Motetten und Chorälen von Purcell, Tallis und Bach stellen die Zurich Chamber Singers die eindringliche Komposition De profundis des 27-jährigen US- Amerikaners Kevin Hartnett gegenüber. Das ist Musik von betörender Schönheit, in klanglicher Perfektion dargeboten.» Kulturtipp, Juni 2018
«Hervorragendes Vokalprogramm aus Zürich. Die gute Balance zwischen kristallinen Oberstimmen, weicher Mittellage und warmer Tiefe sorgt für eine klare Gestaltung von Wort und Musik.» pizzicato.lu, April 2018
«Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent…» Piano works by Liszt and Debussy
Solo Musica, 2016
«… Verspieltheit, grosse dynamische Kontraste, eine technische Brillanz, die nie kalt wirkt…» SWR2- Kultur, 2016
«Christian Erny leistet mit seinem klärenden, feinnervigen, technisch in jeder Hinsicht souveränen Spiel einen imponierenden Beitrag.» Peter Cossé, Klassik Heute
The Zurich Chamber Singers
The combination of outstanding vocal work, innovative programming and a modern appearance makes the Zurich Chamber Singers, led by conductor Christian Erny, one of the most promising and interesting vocal ensembles of the young generation.
With its new album O nata lux, the choir convinced critics and audiences worldwide. The vocal magazine Chorzeit calls the CD “a musical pleasure of the first order”, while the Aachener Zeitung praises the sound culture, which is “unparalleled”. “With O nata lux, the Zurich Chamber Singers finally sing their way into the top 10 of European chamber choirs,” states Image HiFi Magazine.
The following seasons see the Zurich Chamber Singers perform with artists such as Ian Bostridge and Roberto Gonzales Monjas and with orchestras such as the Musikkollegium Winterthur, Cardinal Complex and the Orchestra of Europe. The remarkable diversity and flexibility of the young ensemble allows it to convince in almost every conceivable formation and style. The choir covers the repertoire from Renaissance polyphony to twentieth-century choral symphonic works.
The Zurich Chamber Singers are passionate about contemporary music and the promotion of young composers. Since their foundation, they have premiered works by Patrick Brennan (NIR), Rhiannon Randle (GB) and Kevin Hartnett (USA). They also realized the world premiere recording of the work O magnum mysterium by the Norwegian composer Marcus Paus. In January 2020, the Zurich Chamber Singers and the Orchestra of Europe toured three major Swiss cities, performing Arthur Honegger’s oratorio King David. Previously, they were guests at the Brahms Festival Winterthur with their program Liebeslieder Walzer. They also received wide praise for their debut CD Passio, which was released by Ars-Produktion in 2018.
The Zurich Chamber Singers were founded in 2015 by Christian Erny and Emanuel Signer, initially with ten singer friends. In the meantime, the group has grown to a pool of more than thirty singers, which has earned an excellent reputation as a professional ensemble. The Zurich Chamber Singers are exclusive artists of the Berlin Classics label.