The Zurich Chamber Singers
With a combination of outstanding vocal work, innovative programming concepts and a modern appearance, the vocal ensemble has increasingly attracted attention since its foundation in 2015. The Kulturtipp praises the choir’s “tonal perfection”, the Aachener Zeitung simply judges it as “enchanting”. The New Listener magazine is enthusiastic about the choir’s “directness” and the variety of its emotions.
In the 20/21 season the Zurich Chamber Singers will release two new albums for the Berlin Classics label, for which they have signed an exclusive contract in 2020. The ensemble received widespread praise from the public and the international press for their debut CD Passio (Ars-Produktion), which was released in 2018 and nominated for the Opus Klassik 2019 award. Invitations to the Brahms Festival 2019 of the Musikkollegium Winterthur and the Festival Hänkiturm-Classics followed. In January 2020 the Zurich Chamber Singers and the Orchestra of Europe toured three major Swiss cities, performing Arthur Honegger’s oratorio King David. In the coming season the ensemble is looking forward to a Bach production in collaboration with the Musikkollegium Winterthur, Roberto Gonzales Monjas and Ian Bostridge, among others. Other works on the programme include Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, together with the Cardinal Complex Baroque Orchestra.
The Zurich Chamber Singers were founded in 2015 by Christian Erny and Emanuel Signer together with a group of ten singers. In the meantime the ensemble has grown to a pool of more than thirty singers and has earned itself an excellent reputation as a flexible ensemble. The ensemble devotes itself to choral works from the Renaissance to the modern age, whereby the lean cast requires a great deal of individual initiative from each member. Soloists are also recruited from the ensemble’s pool of singers. The Zurich Chamber Singers are particularly committed to cultivating contemporary vocal music and promoting young composers. So far, they have collaborated with composers such as Marcus Paus (NO), Rhiannon Randle (GB), Patrick Brennan (GB) and Kevin Hartnett (USA).
The Zurich Chamber Singers are an ensemble of young singers from the Zurich region. The size of the ensemble may vary depending on the project.
The young Swiss conductor and pianist Christian Erny (*1988) has received worldwide attention for his unique musical versatility. Critics have appreciated his «enormous depth of expression» (Onlinemerker), «his breadth of dynamics and nuances» (Fonoforum) and his «technical brilliance» (SWR2-Kultur). Feuilletonscout marvelled at his «outstanding understanding of musical structures» as well as his «ability to find the right solution for any stylistic challenge».
A graduate from the Zurich University of the Arts, the Jacobs School of Music, Lucerne University, and the Jiri Hlinka Piano Academy in Bergen, Christian studied orchestral conducting with Howard Arman and Christof Brunner, choral conducting with Markus Utz, as well as piano with Hans-Jürg Strub, Jean-Louis Haguenauer, Leif Ove Andsnes and Eldar Nebolsin. At the age of 6, Christian began to be taught at the conservatory of his hometown, and went on to receive a comprehensive musical education throughout his childhood and youth. Today, he draws on this to explore a wide variety of different musical areas and stiles. His repertoire spans from Renaissance polyphony and Baroque opera to twentieth-century symphonic choral and orchestral music.
As the current holder of the cultural advancement award of his home town Winterthur (2019), Christian’s current concert season 2019/20 takes him to Switzerland and other countries in Europe. Recently, he made his debut as an opera conductor, co-directing the Monteverdi production Lieder von Krieg und Liebe at Lucerne Theatre, conducted the Orchestra of Europe and was assistant to the Musikkollegium Winterthur. In recent years, he has directed ensembles such as the Lucerne Festival Strings, the Baroque orchestra Les Passions de l’Âme, the Sofia Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the Opera Ruse, and the Junge Philharmonie Zentralschweiz. In summer 2019, he was one of three young conductors selected to conduct the Chor des Bayrischen Rundfunks for a week. In the previous season 2018/19, he was a guest at the Brahms Festival Winterthur. For this he drew on years of experience as a conducting assistant to the choirs of Winterthur Conservatory (2012 to 2018).
As the artistic director and founder of the vocal ensemble The Zurich Chamber Singers, Christian recently signed an exclusive recording contract with Berlin Classics. Founded in 2015, the Zurich Chamber Singers have established themselves in the European choral world as a professional and very versatile ensemble, convincing with innovative choices of repertoire and highest vocal qualities. Their first album recording Passio (Ars Produktion) has received international attention and was nominated for the prize Opus Klassik 2019. The Zurich Chamber Singers perform sacred and secular choral music, as well as newly commissioned works by young promising composers from across the world.
In addition to his activities as a conductor, Christian is active as a pianist. He has performed on the stages of various European countries, the USA and South America. His recordings for Solo Musica and Ars Produktion have been awarded distinctions such as Gramophone Editor’s Choice, and nominated for the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis and Opus Klassik. 2015 he was awarded a prize for the best interpretation of a work by Arnold Schönberg at the international piano competition Île de France. As part of the season 2020/21, Christian will make his debut with the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, with piano concertos by Beethoven and Clementi.
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.