Christian Poltéra | Concours de Genève

Christian Poltéra

String Quartet Jury 2023


As one of the most impressive cellists of his generation, Poltéra's performance focuses on music alone: without excessive gestures, he reveals the essence of a work. His unique timbre is characteristic of his interpretations, masterfully adapted to each epoch and style.

Already at a very young age, the Swiss Christian Poltéra gravitated to the cello. He began his studies with Nancy Chumachenco and then continued with Boris Pergamenschikov and Heinrich Schiff in Salzburg and Vienna. In 2004, he was awarded the Borletti-Buitoni Prize and named BBC New Generation Artist. As a Rising Star two years later, he was able to present himself to audiences in all the great European concert halls.

Invitations from renowned orchestras take him all over the world. He has made guest appearances with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Los Angeles and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras, the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, the Orchester de Paris, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Rotterdam Philharmonic
Orchestra and the Seoul Philharmonic. His conducting partners have included Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Paavo Järvi and Andris Nelsons.

In addition to his solo career, Christian Poltéra devotes himself to chamber music. A number of recordings (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Hindemith, Schoenberg) document the unique interplay of the unsurpassed Zimmermann Trio with Frank Peter Zimmermann and Antoine Tamestit.

In a trio with Esther Hoppe and Ronald Brautigam, he plays historically-informed or modern programs in European centers such as Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Zurich. In addition, he performs with colleagues such as Mitsuko Uchida, Gidon Kremer, Lars Vogt, Leif Ove Andsnes and Kathryn Stott, as well as with the Artemis, Belcea, Auryn and Zehetmair string quartets.

He is also frequently heard performing at major international festivals in Salzburg, Lucerne, Schwarzenberg (Schubertiade), Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Schleswig-Holstein and London (Proms). In addition, Christian Poltéra presented the cycle with Bach's Cello Suites in Brussels, Vevey and most recently as artist in residence at the Swabian Spring.

Christian Poltéra's much acclaimed recordings reflect his versatile and extensive repertoire. Among the award-winning CD recordings (awarded the BBC Music Award, Gramophone Choice, and Diapson D'Or de l'année) are the cello concertos of Dvořák, Walton, Ligeti, Barber, Dutilleux, Lutosławski, Honegger, Hindemith, Shostakovich, Martinů and Martin, as well as sonatas of Mendelssohn, Fauré and Saint-Saëns. Recently, Poltéra recorded the Haydn cello concerti with the Munich Chamber Orchestra as well as Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, a recording with Isabelle Faust and friends.

Since 2013, Christian Poltéra is Artistic Director of the Chamber Music Days in the mountain church of Büsingen. He is also a lecturer at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, and regularly gives masterclasses.

He plays an Antonio Casini cello built in 1675 and the legendary Mara cello of Antonio Stradivari from 1711.

(February 2023)