« Christian Zacharias conducted without a baton, but his gestures – painting with arms, hands and fingers – was so inspiring, structuring the wonderful music that was created. »
Christian Zacharias is a narrator among the conductors and pianists of his generation. In each of his elaborate, detailed and clearly articulated interpretations, it’s clear what he means: Zacharias is interested in what lies behind the notes.
With a unique combination of integrity and individuality, brilliant linguistic expressiveness, deep musical understanding and a sure artistic instinct, paired with his charismatic and engaging artistic personality, Christian Zacharias has established himself not only as a world-class pianist and conductor, but also as a musical thinker. Numerous acclaimed concerts with the world’s best orchestras and outstanding conductors as well as multiple honors and recordings characterize his international career.
Since the 2017/18 season, Christian Zacharias holds the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid, and from 2020 will hold the same position with the Orquestra Sinfonica Do Porto Casa da Musica, and was named Honorary Conductor of the George Enescu Philharmonic in Bucharest.
In general, the Classical-Romantic repertoire builds an important musical focus, as shown in return engagements with the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra, the Orchester Philharmonique Monte Carlo, or the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiano in Lugano. Zacharias gladly presents more modern works in his programs, such as works from Schoenberg and Bruckner.
On the occasion of his 70th birthday, Christian Zacharias will give a few last piano recitals in the musical centers of Europe, for example in Paris, London and Rome.
Zacharias‘ longtime musical partners include the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Basel Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Konzerthausorchester and the Bamberger Symphoniker. He’s also developed a special love of opera and has directed productions of Mozart’s La Clemenza the Tito and The Marriage of Figaro, as well as Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène. The production of Nicolai’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, which he conducted at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, was awarded the Prix de l’Europe Francophone 2014 by the Association Professionnelle de la Critique Théâtre, Musique et Danse in Paris.
Since 1990, various films have also been produced featuring Christian Zacharias: Domenico Scarlatti in Seville, Robert Schumann – the Poet Speaks (both for INA, Paris), Zwischen Bühne und Künstlerzimmer (for WDR-arte), De B comme Beethoven à Z comme Zacharias (for RTS, Switzerland) as well as the complete Beethoven piano concertos (for SSR-arte).
His piano lectures on topics such as Why does Schubert sound like Schubert? or Haydn: A Creation from Nothing? offer his audiences impressive insights.
The musical work of Christian Zacharias has been honored many times, for example with the Midem Classical Award Artist of the Year 2007, the honorable award Officier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the French state and a tribute from Romania for his services to culture. In addition, Christian Zacharias was appointed a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 2016, and in 2017 received an honorary doctorate from the University of Gothenburg.
Numerous internationally acclaimed recordings were made during his time as Principal Conductor of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra. Particularly noteworthy are the recordings of the complete Mozart piano concertos – awarded the Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique and ECHO Klassik – as well as the complete Schumann symphonies.
Since 2015, Christian Zacharias is chairman of the jury of the Clara Haskil Competition, and in 2018 president of the jury of the Geza Anda Competition where he also conducted the final concert.