The German bass-baritone (and former boy alto), Christian Immler, performed, as the alto soloist in the boy’s choir Tölzer Knabenchor, under conductors James Levine, Herbert von Karajan, Christoph von Dohnányi, Riccardo Chailly, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He studied as an adult with Rudolf Piernay on the Opera Course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, where he took part in the Young Songmakers’ Almanac with Graham Johnson. He was a Junior Fellow at the Royal College of Music in 2001-2002. He was a prize-winner in 1990 and 1992 of the Bundesgesangswettbewerb Berlin VDMK. In 1999 he won the Schubert Prize 1999, and in 2001 he won First Prize at the prestigious inaugural Concours Internationale Nadia et Lili Boulanger in Paris. He holds a Masters degree in Musicology from Royal Holloway College, University of London.
From the Tölzer Knabenchor as a boy alto to singing as a soloist with exciting orchestras at major concert halls, festivals and opera houses, Christian Immler has spent many years making and recording music of the highest quality all around the world. As an adult baritone singer, he has worked as a soloist with major orchestras and conductors all over the world including Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen (Daniel Harding), Les Arts Florissants (William Christie) at the BBC Proms, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Helmuth Rilling), Lucerne Symphony Orchestra (John Axelrod), Orchestre de Paris (Marc Soustrot), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä, Manchester Camerata (Nicholas Kraemer), Hamburger Symphoniker (Matthias Janz), MDR Sinfonieorchester (Howard Arman), Balears Simfonica Orchestra, Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra (Leon Botstein), Israel Chamber Orchestra (John Nelson and Christoph Spering), Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid (José de Eusebio), Prague Philharmonia (Kaspar Zehnder), and London Mozart Players.
Although also known for singing George Frideric Handel, Haydn, W.A. Mozart and, increasingly, Gustav Mahler, running down the spine of Christian Immler’s career has been the music of J.S. Bach. Having sung the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) and St John Passion (BWV 245) with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre, he will be singing the St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with Marc Minkowski in a series of concerts around Europe during Easter 2012 and was delighted to have the chance to sing J.S. Bach (and Georg Philipp Telemann) Cantatas with the Nederlandse Bachvereniging (conductor Jos van Veldhoven) in 2011. In recent years he has also performed these works, as well as Masses and Cantatas, with Philippe Herreweghe (Collegium Vocale Gent), Michel Corboz, Andrew Parrott and Ensemble Pygmalion (conductor Raphaël Pichon).
Alongside, and complementary to, his concert work Christian has also been developing his operatic career, a career which again reflects his many musical interests. His most recent roles were Dodo/Frog Footman/Mock Turtle in Unsuk Chin’s new take on Alice in Wonderland at the Grand Theatre de Geneve. He has also sung Seneca in L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF), Förster in Das Schlaue Füchslein for the Wiener Kammeroper (Autumn 2007), Ubalde in Armide by Gluck at New Israeli Opera, the title role in The Weather Man by Paul Clarke/John Binias for Opera North, Testo in Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Monteverdi and Father in Die Sieben Todsünden by Weill for Lautten Compagney Berlin at Opera Potsdam, Claudio in Béatrice et Bénédict by Berlioz at the Opéra Comique, Achis in David & Jonathas by Charpentier and Le Roi in Lully’s Thésée for Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie, Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos by Strauss for the Orchestre de Picardie, Melisso in Alcina at the Händel-Festspiele, Halle and Pharnaces in Zemlinsky’s Der König Kandaules at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. Christian will return to the BEMF in 2013 to sing Consalvo in G.F. Handel’s Almira and to Geneva later in 2012 to sing Vicaire/Docteur Itard in Fénelon’s JJR (Citoyen de Geneve).
As a recitalist, Christian Immler has a particular interest in 20th Century ‘Emigré Composers’ such as Zemlinsky, Gál, Toch and Goldschmidt and has sung songs by these composers - as well as core lieder repertoire by Schubert and Robert Schumann - in recitals all over the world. He has made his debut at the Wigmore Hall as part of the “Continental Britons” series, the Purcell Room, the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House, St. John’s Smith Square, the Royal Festival Hall in London , and at King’s Place in London (the latter with pianist Helmut Deutsch; Their CD Modern Times was recently awarded the ‘Diamant d’Opéra’), the Frick Collection in New York, the Salon d’Honneur in Paris, Opera Lille, the Jewish Museum in Vienna (under the auspices of the Wiener Festwochen), Pollok House in Glasgow, and The Crucible in Sheffield as part of the Music In The Round concert series.
During the 2001-2002 season Christian Immler gave the first in a series of recitals (at the Purcell Room) entitled Thwarted Voices. A further recital with similar material took place at the Wigmore Hall in June. In 2002 he has worked with Osmö Vanska and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in a concert including Nielsen’s S3 recorded by BIS. He has worked extensively in Germany and France including with Françoise Pollet at the Festival du Haut Limousin and given his debut at the Salon d’honneur in Paris and at the Royal Festival Hall as part of the London Pilharmonic Orchestra’s Mahler Festival. Other engagements include a Purcell Room recital, his debut at the Wienerfestwochen 2003, a tour of Israel with the Israel Camerata Orchestra Jerusalem and a recital tour of South Africa.
Performances and recordings in previous seasons include Benda’s Romeo und Julie (Opera Bremen); G.F. Handel's Apollo und D (Jerusalem, Music Festival); J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) and Cantatas (Ulmer and Wiesbadener Bachwochen); Charpentier’s la Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and Tippett’s/Bowen’s The Tempest (Spitalfields Festival, London); the role of Le Roi in J.B. Lully’s Thésée (concerts and recordings in Lyon, Paris, Brussels and the London); the role of Mackie Messer in Weill/Brecht's Threepenny Opera (Caracas); the role of Melisso in G.F. Handel's Alcina (Händel-Festspiele Halle); W.Boyce's Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day (Hanover Band at Brighton Festival); and J.S. Bach's Magnificat (BWV 243) (St John’s Smith Square). In January 2000, Christian gave his Purcell Room debut during the Park Lane Group New Years Series with A. Reimann’s Shine and Dark and G. Poole’s 5 Brecht Lieder. He recently toured Europe with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen with Daniel Harding and Ian Bostridge.
2006 was a busy year for Christian Immler and included performances of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) at the Gulbenkian in Lisbon conducted by Michel Corboz, the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) for the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Kurt Weill’s Berliner Requiem at the Lucerne Festival, several performances of the Messiah with the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, W.A. Mozart and Schubert arias with the Orchestre de Picardie and St. John Passion (BWV 245) for the Oxford Bach Choir and the London Handel Society.Concert highlights so far in 2007 have included Pilate/bass solos in St. John Passion (BWV 245) for Collegium Vocale Gent, conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, in London, Bruges and the Lincoln Center in New York, Haydn’s The Seasons with Orchestre de Picardie, Haydn’s Creation with the New Haifa Symphony Orchestra and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem with the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne.
Christian Immler’s musical interests and talents are very broad. Recent projects have included G.F. Handel’s Dixit Dominnus with Concentus Musicus and Ivor Bolton, W.A. Mozart’s Requiem with Harry Christophers (Amsterdam Concertgebouw), Krenek’s Orpheus with Lothar Zagrosek (Berlin Konzerthaus), W.A. Mozart’s C minor Mass with Giovanni Antonini (Salzburg Festival) and with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, the world premiere of Hellstenius’ The moon eats humans (Bergen Festival), G.F. Handel’s Messiah with Bach Collegium Japan and Masaaki Suzuki, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s Magnificat with Ottavio Dantone, Weill’s Berliner Requiem at the Lucerne Festival, G. Mahler’s Songs with the Orchestre des Pays de Savoie, Schubert Orchestral Songs with the Ensemble de Basse-Normandie, performances of J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Ensemble Vocal de Lausanne, G.P. Telemann Cantatas with Andrew Parrott, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (Vancouver Festival) and Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem with the Gulbenkian Orchestra.
His recordings include J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass ((BWV 232)) for Naïve, J.S. Bach’s Masses BWV 233/BWV 236 for Alpha (‘Editor’s Choice’ in the Gramaphone), Schubert Sakuntala for Carus (‘Diapason d’or’), cantatas by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel for CPO (2004), Continental Britons and Kaddish on Nimbus (2004) and Albeniz’ Henry Clifford with the Orquesta Sinfonica de Madrid for Decca, all released to wide critical acclaim. As a treble soloist, he recorded Bach Cantatas and J.S. Bach's B Minor Mass (BWV 232) with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and Andrew Parrott.
Christian Immler is professor of voice at the Conservatoire in Lausanne/Fribourg.