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.
As a pianist Erny has recorded works by Beethoven, Clementi, Lourié, Debussy and Liszt. His recordings have been nominated for the German Record Prize 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 gives concerts in Europe, the USA and South America.
Christian Erny is founder and artistic director of the vocal ensemble The Zurich Chamber Singers, which has been under exclusive contract with the label Berlin Classics since 2020. He has also conducted orchestras such as the Lucerne Festival Strings, 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 Lucerne Theater. In the summer of 2019 he was one of three selected young conductors who had the opportunity to work with the Bavarian Radio Choir for one week in a conducting forum. He was employed as musical assistant to the choirs of the Winterthur Conservatory from 2012 to 2018.
In 2019 he was awarded the Cultural Achievement Prize of his home town Winterthur for his artistic work to date.
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.
Christian Erny is a passionate pedagogue and lecturer for piano at the Basel University School of Music and the Pedagogical Seminary Kreuzlingen. As a guest he has taught at the Renaissance Arts Academy in Los Angeles and at the Collegio Suizo in Santiago de Chile.
Dr. Emanuel Signer, from Winterthur, studied musicology and English literature at the University of Zurich. In 2019 he received his PhD in Music from the University of Cambridge and Queens’ College, Cambridge, with a thesis on Italian music printing in late 16th and early 17th century Italy. Further studies took him to the Zurich University of the Arts (CAS Organ) and to the teaching diploma for Matura schools at the University of Zurich.
In addition to his freelance work as a musicologist and teacher, Emanuel has been a lecturer for orchestra and chamber music at the Bärenreiter publishing house in Kassel (D) since 2019.
Severin Hosang, born in Winterthur in 1993, studied political science and history at the University of Zurich. He exercises his passion for shaping (political) processes, public relations and organisational development in various functions: He works as a Junior Public Affairs Specialist for a large private insurer headquartered in Winterthur and is involved as a managing director and member of the executive committee of the liberal-democratic party FDP of Winterthur. From 2016 to 2020, he was also a member of the Commission for Public Affairs (KOA) of the Swiss Radio and Television Corporation (SRG) Zurich-Schaffhausen.
Since his earliest childhood, (classical) music has been a further focus in Severin’s life: As a recorder player Severin won first prizes in numerous music competitions. He has performed as a soloist or in duo and ensemble formations throughout Switzerland. Master classes with Maurice Steger, Conrad Steinmann, Michala Petri, Dorothee Oberlinger completed his musical education. He completed his vocal training in the choir school of the Winterthur Conservatory under Christoph Bachmann and with Peter Mächler. Today he is a singer and co-director of the professional vocal ensemble The Zurich Chamber Singers, which is exclusively under contract with the renowned German label Berlin Classic and was nominated for the OPUS Klassik in 2019.
David Gurtner, born 1987 in Winterthur, studied percussion and timpani at the Zurich University of the Arts with Klaus Schwärzler, Rainer Seegers and Raphael Christen as well as voice with David Thorner. In 2015 he completed his Master of Arts in Music Performance with distinction, and in 2019 his Master of Arts in Music Pedagogy, also with distinction. He was a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and now performs regularly as a freelance percussionist with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Bern Symphony Orchestra and various other ensembles. Tours have taken him throughout Europe as well as to China, South Korea and Taiwan, and various CD recordings document his work.
He is a member and co-director of the vocal ensemble The Zurich Chamber Singers, a member of the percussion ensemble DeciBells in Basel, drummer in the band The Roffs, as well as a member of the executive board of the Kulturzentrum Gaswerk in Winterthur. Since 2019, he has also been working for the Canton of Zurich as a sound and noise specialist for musical events.
Chief Conductor WDR-Rundfunkchor, Artistic Director Swiss Youth Choir
“The Zurich Chamber Singers make an important contribution to the professional choral scene with their refined sound culture. In their work it becomes clear which boundaries professional choral singing can break and I wish the ensemble and its director Christian Erny much success and deserved support!”
(Photo: Marco Kitzing)
Violinist, Chief Conductor Designate Musikkollegium Winterthur
“I count myself fortunate for having encountered the Zurich Chamber Singers in my musical path. How wonderful to meet a group of young, energetic and dynamic voices, yet with the seriousness and preparation of a well-seasoned ensemble. I am looking forward to many future collaborations, and to witnessing the ensemble’s surely astonishing development during the years to come!”
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)
“Since I have been following the Zurich Chamber Singers under the direction of Christian Erny, I have been fascinated and taken in by the energy and expressiveness of these young voices. The choir then fully convinced me with its new album O nata lux. The subtle and well-balanced sound, the musical power and sensitive programming never fail to grab me, so that the CD continues to resound with me long after Christmas. I wish the promising ensemble and its conductor all the success they deserve and am pleased to support this project with my name.”
(Photo: Elisabeth Zerlauth Beck)
Recorder Soloist and Conductor, Professor Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg
“The Zurich Chamber Singers have already earned a place (with the predicate “please discover”) among professional choirs. I would like to hear this vocal ensemble with Monteverdi, Bach but also Honegger or Pärt, because this is exactly where its uniqueness shows: the versatility in sound, articulation, colour and expression. Wonderful. I will follow and support the Zurich Chamber Singers on their way with great interest.”
(Photo: Marco Borggreve)