Christopher Hinterhuber has successfully etched out a career as a specialist in the byways of the keyboard repertory. One finds works by Hummel and the piano concertos of Ferdinand Ries in his discography, along with other lesser known fare. And when the name of, say, Schubert appears on his recordings, it is in the genre of his four-hand compositions, not the sonatas or impromptus. Not that Hinterhuber eschews the staples of keyboard literature in the concert hall: as both a recitalist and soloist he plays a vast array of works by Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert (yes, the sonatas), Mussorgsky, Rachmaninov, Schoenberg, Ravel, Prokofiev, Messiaen, and many others. Having made his official debut with the orchestra only in 1999, however, it is easy to understand why he has yet to record anything approaching warhorse status. He has generally garnered critical acclaim for both his live performances and recordings, and it is likely his star will continue to rise. Hinterhuber has recorded exclusively for the Naxos label.
Hinterhuber was born in Klagenfurt, Austria, in 1973. His first advanced studies were at Vienna's University for Music and Performing Arts, where his piano teachers included Rudolf Kehrer, Axel Papenberg, Avo Kouyoumdjian, and Heinz Medjimorec. He took further keyboard instruction in Imola, Italy, at the Accademia Pianistica under Lazar Berman, Louis Lortie, and Alexander Longquich. But his list of teachers/mentors does not stop there: Hinterhuber later took master classes from Dmitri Bashkirov, Oleg Maisenberg, and Murray Perahia. Hinterhuber launched his international career in the 1990s, and for his orchestral debut in March 1999 he performed the Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Musikverein in Vienna, with Yakov Kreizberg conducting.
Hinterhuber placed high in (or won) a spate of competitions around the turn of the century, including the Leipzig-based J.S. Bach Competition, the Concours Geza Anda in Zurich (2000), and the International Beethoven Competition in Vienna (2001). For the popular French/Austrian film La pianiste, he ghost-played works by Schubert, Rachmaninov, and Schoenberg. The film received the Grand Prix at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2003 Naxos released Hinterhuber's first recording, a disc of four-hand music by Schubert, with pianist Rico Gulda. Among Hinterhuber's recordings is a 2007 disc of Hummel works for piano and orchestra, which includes the Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 116, "Oberons Zauberhorn." Hinterhuber began a professorship in 2010, teaching piano at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.