Christoph-Mathias Mueller - Biography

Christoph-Mathias Mueller

Christoph-Mathias Mueller
© Marco Borggreve

Christoph-Mathias Mueller

conductor

Irresistible vitality, artistic authenticity and highest intellectual aspirations: few words are needed to sum up Christoph-Mathias Mueller’s credo. Principal Conductor of the Göttinger Sinfonie Orchester since 2005, this Swiss maestro proves these very qualities in his work, repeatedly and impressively. Under his direction, the orchestra has emerged as an outstanding Klangkörper in Germany, reputed equally for its broad repertoire and for its stylistic diversity. In 2017, this exceptionally fruitful conductor-orchestra collaboration was honoured – already for the second time – with the coveted ECHO Klassik award, ‘Best recording of a concerto from the 20th/21st century’. The specialist journal Pizzicato joined the chorus of those singing the new disc’s praises: “Under the inspiring direction of Christoph-Mathias Mueller, the Göttinger Sinfonie Orchester captivates listeners with its great engagement, expressive power and tonal colours.”

Christoph-Mathias Mueller, born in Peru in 1967, made his international breakthrough in 2000, when he won the conducting competition in Cadaqués, Spain. Having completed his training as a professional violinist, he went on to take a Master of Music at the University of Cincinnati where, as Conducting Fellow in Tanglewood, he worked with great names such as Seiji Ozawa, Robert Spano and Leon Fleisher. In 2001, Claudio Abbado appointed him Assistant Conductor to the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, subsequently also engaging him as his ‘right hand’ at the Lucerne Festival Orchestra.

Working with compelling precision, Christoph-Mathias Mueller succeeds in unlocking works from both within and beyond the mainstream to musicians and audiences alike. He takes the credit for reviving the music of Alexander Weprik, for example, one of the great up-and-coming composers of the Soviet Union in the 1920s. In numerous thematically conceived concerts and a film for school pupils, he has joined forces with musicologists to throw light on the life and work of this forgotten musician who was persecuted and had his music banned, first by the Nazis and then in Russia, where ultimately he and his music fell into oblivion.

Among the conductor’s recent CD productions is a disc with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales featuring orchestral works by Kenneth Hesketh, and a recording with ECHO awardee Tianwa Yang and the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz devoted to works for violin and orchestra by Wolfgang Rihm. Mueller’s wide-ranging discography also includes a series of highly acknowledged recordings for Sony Classical, among them the album ‘Bel Canto’ with Simone Kermes and original instrument specialists Concerto Köln.

Yet this maestro of diversity also takes the rostrum directing the Ensemble Modern: contemporary music comprises another significant component of Christoph-Mathias Mueller’s repertoire. Among the composers who have entrusted him with the world premieres of their works are Rudolf Kelterborn, Isabel Mundry, Gérard Zinsstag and Uljas Pulkkis.

As a guest conductor, Christoph-Mathias Mueller is closely associated with the famous Moscow Bolshoi Theatre, where in 2010 he triumphed at his debut conducting a new production of Johann Strauss’ Fledermaus, later returning for Rosenkavalier. He has further enriched his operatic experience with concertante performances of Verdi’s La Traviata, Haydn’s Orfeo and Mozart’s Entführung aus dem Serail in Göttingen. In 2014, the first performance of two reconstructed opera scores by Claude Debussy attracted considerable attention in the media.

Subsequently broadcast on Deutschlandradio Kultur, these performances have since been released on CD.

In addition to engagements at the Vienna Musikverein, the Cologne Philharmonie, the Konserthus Stavanger and the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, Christoph-Mathias Mueller makes regular guest appearances with internationally renowned ensembles. Among them are the Russian National Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, the Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich, the Staatskapelle Weimar, DSO Berlin, SWR-Sinfonieorchester, and the Royal Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In the course of this work he has shared the stage with celebrated soloists such as Igor Levit, Maurice Steger, Kirill Gerstein and Frank Peter Zimmermann, to name but a few, and has developed with them long and enduring artistic friendships.