“Schmitt found colours to marvel at.”
Since his debuts with the Berliner Philharmonic and at the Salzburg Festival, Christian Schmitt has become one of the world’s most sought-after organists. He has been praised for his virtuosic and charismatic playing. Since 2014 he has served as principal organist of the Bamberger Symphoniker, where he also curates the organ series for the Bamberg Concert Hall. He is additionally in demand as a chamber music partner.
Christian Schmitt performed with the Staatskapelle Berlin under Sir Simon Rattle, which led to a re-invitation for the current season, and has given recitals at Bachfest Leipzig and for a sold-out audience at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg. He has played the organs at the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Philharmonie Berlin, the Wiener Musikverein, the Gewandhaus Leipzig and the Maison Symphonique Montreal. He has worked with conductors and soloists including Philippe Herreweghe, Jakub Hruša, Marek Janowski, Cornelius Meister, Manfred Honeck, Magdalena Kozena, Sibylla Rubens, and Michael Volle.
Highlights of the 2019/2020 season include his debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall presented by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, performances of Saint-Saëns’s Third Symphony with the Staatskapelle Berlin under the baton of Daniel Barenboim and with the NDR Radio Philharmonic under Lionel Bringuier, the premiere of the new organ concerto by Ivan Fedele in France, the Japanese premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s Umarmung – Licht und Schatten (Embrace – Light and Shadow) with the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra at Suntory Hall, a duo recital at the Schlossfestspiele Ludwigsburg, and the release of his most recent recording of the Hindemith Chamber Music No. 7 with the conductor Christoph Eschenbach.
As a champion of new organ works, Christian Schmitt has performed the world premiere of Umarmung – Licht und Schatten for organ and orchestra by Toshio Hosokawa at the Bamberg Concert Hall. He regularly programs works by composers of the 20th and 21st centuries both in recitals and performances with orchestra, and pairs works by Gubaidulina and Pärt with Bach and Schumann.
For Deutsche Grammophon Schmitt recorded a series of chorales, fugues and fantasies for the project, Bach 333 – The Complete New Edition. His discography includes around 40 recordings of chamber, orchestra and organ solo works. His latest album with works by Joseph Jongen, which he recorded for the label CPO with the Deutsche Radio Philharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserslautern and the conductor Martin Haselböck, was highly praised. He has also recorded an album of works for voice and organ with soprano Magdalena Kožena, which was released by Deutsche Grammophon in 2014. Christian Schmitt’s album with organ symphonies by Charles-Marie Widor, which he recorded with the Bamberger Symphoniker under Stefan Solyom, was awarded an ECHO Klassik.
Christian Schmitt studied at the Musikhochschule Saarbrücken and with Daniel Roth in Paris. At the University of Saarland he also took musicology and Catholic theology. As a passionate pedagogue, he is an international guest lecturer at universities worldwide. In addition, he taught the class of Professor Jürgen Essl and as a lecturer at the University of Music Saar in the context of a chair representation.
Christian Schmitt is an expert consultant for renovations and new construction of organs in Berlin, Nuremberg, Zurich, Lucerne and Brno. His latest project is a digitally sampled version of the organ of the Philharmonie Essen for concerts with and in the orchestra. The digital version of the famous organ, created in cooperation with a Dutch acoustics company, is transportable and easily adaptable to hall size and needs. Christian Schmitt has been a member of numerous international music competition juries and is involved in the music education project Rhapsody in School.
Christian Schmitt is represented worldwide by Tanja Dorn at Dorn Music.
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