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Christian Poltéra

Cellist Christian Poltéra's discography reflects the balance he keeps in his performance appearances between concerto, chamber, and recital concerts. He performs a remarkably broad range of repertoire, from mainstream works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, and Shostakovich to lesser-known fare by Frank Martin, Othmar Schoeck, and Michael Tippett. In recital and chamber music, Poltéra has collaborated with such artists as pianists Mitsuko Uchida and Lars Vogt, violinists Gidon Kremer and Christian Tetzlaff, and a spate of well-known and ad hoc ensembles, including the Zehetmair, Auryn, and Belcea quartets. Poltéra is also a member of the Trio Zimmermann with Frank Peter Zimmermann and Antoine Tamestit. Poltéra has recorded for various labels, including BIS, Chandos, and Naxos. Poltéra was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1977. He studied cello with Nancy Chumachenko at the Zurich School of Music. Under her guidance, he played in a trio with violinist Linus Roth and pianist (now conductor) Philippe Jordan, and with them, won first prize in chamber music performance at the 1992 Swiss National Competition. Poltéra had further studies with Boris Pergamenschikow in Berlin and with Heinrich Schiff in both Salzburg and Vienna. During his student years, Poltéra was already drawing notice as a soloist; at 17, he replaced Yo-Yo Ma in a Zurich concert with the Tonhalle Orchestra under David Zinman in a performance of an Elgar concerto. In 1998, Poltéra debuted in the recording studio with a pair of Pan Classics releases, the first containing the Cello Concerto of Paul Huber and the next offering a Dvořák concerto. By the turn of the new century, Poltéra was regarded among the most talented young Swiss cellists. In 2001, Poltéra became a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme, performing in that capacity until 2004. That year, he received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, which provides financial assistance to outstanding young talent in the development of their careers. In 2006, Poltéra made his New York debut at Avery Fisher Hall with the American Symphony Orchestra, and the following year made his BBC Proms debut. Meanwhile, the European Concert Hall Organization selected Poltéra as a Rising Star for the 2006-2007 concert season. In this role, Poltéra was given a slate of concerts in a repertoire of his choosing at some of Europe's most prestigious concerts halls. In 2007, Poltéra joined violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and violist Antoine Tamestit to establish the Trio Zimmermann ensemble. Poltéra continued making important debuts, as with his 2008 appearance at Carnegie Hall with Mitsuko Uchida and others in a performance of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. In 2010, Trio Zimmermann issued an acclaimed BIS recording of Mozart's trios K. 471 and K. 563. Poltéra's busy 2012 schedule included concerts in Switzerland and Belgium with pianist Ronald Brautigam in sonatas by Beethoven. Poltéra teaches at the University of Lucerne and regularly offers master classes. Since 2013, he has been the artistic director of the Kammermusiktage Büsingen festival. Poltéra has continued a steady recording career as a soloist and with Trio Zimmermann, offering an eclectic catalog of works. In 2022, BIS issued the box set A Retrospective, containing its five Trio Zimmermann albums which cover music from Bach to Schoenberg. That year, BIS also released a recording of Poltéra leading the Munich Chamber Orchestra from the cello on a recording of two Haydn concertos and Hindemith's Trauermusik. Poltéra plays a 1675 Antonio Casini cello and the 1711 "Mari" Stradivarius.
© Robert Cummings & Keith Finke /TiVo
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