Born: Nov 10, 1967 in Eltville, Germany
Genre: Opera, Choral Music, Vocal Music
Andreas Scholl is one of the world's leading countertenors and is, naturally, one of the best-known performers of Baroque vocal music. He was born in Eltville, Germany and grew up in Kiedrich, in the Rhine region of Germany. His father was the conductor of the Kiedricher Chorbuben (Kiedrich Choir Boys), the second oldest choir in Germany, in existence for over 650 years. Andreas and his siblings Johannes and Elisabeth all sang in the choir, and Andreas therefore began his voice training there from age seven, but very little formal theory instruction.
Andreas was nearly 14 when his voice broke and settled down into a baritone speaking range. However, when the voice firmed up, he found he could still sing soprano parts in the choir. One of the vocal coaches who gave individual singing lessons to the boys soon recognized that Andreas no longer had a boy soprano voice, but a countertenor.
At that point Andreas began listening to recordings of countertenors, especially Alfred Deller and James Bowman. He and one of his school friends joined a rock group and composed music for it. They recorded two singles, neither of which made the charts. Scholl still retains an interest in composing and loves popular music.
Scholl began to think of singing as a career, and as a countertenor realized most of his opportunities would include early music. He attended the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basle, Switzerland, one of the centers of older music studies, from 1987 to 1993. He soon overcame deficiencies in his theory and ear training preparation. He was a student of Richard Levitt and Rene Jacobs. He also had the benefit of interpretation classes with Emma Kirkby, Anthony Rooley, and Evelyn Tubb.
In 1993 his teacher Rene Jacobs fell ill and was unable to keep a concert commitment at the Theatre de Grevin in France and recommended Scholl as his replacement. Scholl scored a major success in what amounted to his professional debut on an important international stage. He appeared with Jacobs in a live broadcast concert of Bach's St. John Passion. Going home on the train the night of the concert he met William Christie, a leading early music conductor, who had attended the concert and invited Scholl to sing on his planned recording of Handel's Messiah. The record was a great success and led to an extensive recording career.
He began exclusively as a concert singer, singing with the leading early music groups of Europe and elsewhere. It was not until 1998 that he first appeared in opera when he portrayed Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda at the Glyndebourne Festival in England.
Along the way he won the Conseil de L'Europe and Claude Nicolas Ledoux Foundation awards in 1992. He has won numerous recording prizes, including a Gramophone Award for Vivaldi's Stabat Mater in 1996 and Caldara's Maddelena ai piedi di Cristo in 1997 for Best Baroque Vocal. In 1998 he won the Cannes Classical Award for a disc of German Baroque cantatas. He won the ECHO Classic Award in 1999, and in 1998 was the German Kultur Radio Artist of the Year. In December 1999, he sang at the Belgian royal wedding. In addition to continuing his concert and operatic career, Andreas Scholl has returned to the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis to teach as the successor to his instructor Richard Levitt.
- Joseph Stevenson (All Music Guide)
For nearly fifteen years now, Andreas Scholl has consistently collected the top international awards for his many solo and ensemble recordings (Diapason d'Or of the Year in 1996 and Gramophone Award for Vivaldi's Stabat Mater under the direction of Chiara Banchini; another Gramophone Award and Diapason d'Or for Caldara's Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo under the direction of Rene Jacobs,) and for his singing career: he won the Prix Echo and the Prix de I'Union Musicale de la Presse Beige (Belgian Critics' Circle) in 1999, the Edison Prize in 2002, and the Singer of the Year Award at the Classical Brits in 2006.
Andreas Scholl was born in Germany, and received his initial musical training as a member of a boys' choir, the Kiedricher Chorbuben. He went on to study singing at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis with Rene Jacobs and Richard Levitt, later succeeding the latter in his teaching post there. He now appears in the world's foremost concert halls and festivals. He has worked with the finest orchestras, and with such conductors as Philippe Herreweghe, Rene Jacobs, William Christie, Chiara Banchini, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Christophe Rousset and Paul McCreesh. In 1998, his operatic debut at Glyndebourne in Handel's Rodelinda (Bertarido) won unprecedented praise from the British press. He made his debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera in this role in 2006.
Andreas Scholl has a broad-minded and curious approach to music, and also composes. In 2003, he gave the first concert of his own works. In October 2006, Andreas Scholl sang the title role in Handel's Giulio Cesare at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees and in Rome. He followed this with a series of concerts devoted to Bach's Cantatas BWV 35 and 170 with the Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone, which took him from Madrid to Rotterdam via Maastricht, London, Frankfurt and Copenhagen. After this came appearances in Robert Wilson's staging of Bach's St John Passion at the Theatre du Chatelet in the spring of 2007.
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