Christian Strauß - Vita

Christian Strauss was born into a highly musical family in the city of Saarbrücken, near the German-French border. At the age of seven he began to play piano. Among his earliest teachers was his father, Robert Strauss - himself, an esteemed pianist and pedagogue.

Strauss's formal musical education was received at the Music Conservatory of Mainz, under Professor Lidia Grychtolowna - receiving his Graduate Diploma in 2004, and performing his Graduate Recital in 2007. Thereafter he pursued private studies with Bruno Leonardo Gelber in Monte Carlo, and Lilya Ziberstein in Hamburg. During this same period he refined his artistry, performing in masterclasses under Lazar Berman - within the auspices of the renowned Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival - as well as playing in public masterclasses under such noted artists as Professor Günther Ludwig, and Professor Hans Leygraf.

Strauss is particularly grateful for the time spent in close cooperation with the illustrious Agentinian pianist Bruno Leonardo Gelber. Maestro Gelber’s remarks from September 2009 provide a keen insight into Strauss’s subsequent success:

“I can affirm the great talent of Mr. Christian Strauss, who has participated in several master classes I have given. I have come to admire his technique and musicianship and wish to say that he deserves every support from those who are influential in the field of music."

Strauss’s exceptional talent and potential have also been recognized by numerous Arts support foundations and institutions; among them, the ZIRP Foundation of the Rhineland-Palatinate, from whom he received a 2006 Developmental Grant (“Zukunftsinitiative.”) More recently, in November 2021 he was honored with a Special Cultural Citation by the Municipal Authority of Wörrstadt. The “Verbandsgemeinde” paid particular note of Strauss’s seemingly limitless commitment to the cultural enrichment of his adopted hometown, despite the long absences made necessary in pursuit of his growing international career.

Strauss has performed under the baton of such noted conductors as Christian Kluttig (The Koblenz State Orchestra,) Michael Hofstetter, Sebastian Laverny, Mathias Breitschaft and Piere Kuijpers. He has concertized throughout his native Germany and in locations abroad. German highlights have included the Bechstein Center in Frankfurt; the Fruchthalle in Kaiserslautern; the Polish Consulate in Cologne -performing the renowned “Marienberg Matinee”, in the Cologne Philharmonic Hall; the Wiesbaden Kurhaus; as well as solo and chamber recitals in the Pfaffenhoffen Concert Hall - of particular note, as a featured artist in the “Gegen den Strom Festival.” Invitations from abroad have taken him to Minsk, Belarus for a recital at the German Embassy, New York City for concerts in the prestigious WMP Concert Hall, and Oslo, Norway for recitals in the International Grieg Festival. 2018 found him on a tour throughout Florida and the American South East as soloist and accompanist with Opera et Cetera.

During the decade of 2010 to ‘20, Strauss performed regularly in a piano duo with Claudia Hölbling. In 2010 the duo won First Prize at the 11th International Greig Competition in Oslo, as well as being honored with a Special Citation for their interpretation of Suite Nr. 1 of Sergei Rachmaninoff. In July 2011 the duo were featured artists of the International Grieg Festival. That same year they placed second overall in Rome’s “International Chopin Competition.” Strauss credits the duo’s inception to the active artistic support and inspiration of the preeminent Russian pianist Lilya Zilberstein - famously, the piano duo partner of Martha Argerich. The duo’s CD, featuring works of Mozart, Mozart-Busoni, Rachmaninoff and Ravel was released in 2012.

Remarkably, given his full performing calendar, Christian Strauss finds time to act as Artistic Director for two concert series in southwestern Germany. First, since 2011 he has led the Idar-Oberstein based “Edelstein-Serenaden; and second, since 2020, he has directed the Köllerbach-based “Masters Concerts of the Martin’s Church” series near Saarbrücken.

Additionally, since 2018, Strauss has regularly performed chamber music concerts with cellist Peter Gerschwitz, well respected for his many years as first cellist with the German-Radio-Philharmonic of Saarbrücken-Kaiserslautern. Also in 2018, Strauss accepted the invitation of world-renowned tenor, Keith Ikaia-Purdy, to become principal pianist for the vocal ensemble “Opera et Cetera”. Ikaia-Purdy’s high opinion of this aspect of Strauss’s talent is enlightening:

“Christian Strauss is the rare pianist who understands that Operatic Literature is something quite different ... The amplitude and range of our voices are adapted to orchestras of 70 or more members. For our music to succeed we need resonance, resounding volume and rock-solid rhythmic foundation. Christian must often play inadequate piano reductions of Mozart, Wagner, Puccini, Verdi & Co.. He fills out the music, taking on the role of trumpet tutti, full string fortissimos, and percussive marches. Chrisian Strauss is the rare pianist who can manage these sonorities at the piano. We fondly call him our “Opera et Cetera Philharmonic.” Absolutely irreplaceable! “

Rounding out his busy calendar is an ever-increasing number of performances of chamber music and Lieder accompaniment. Joint-recitals with prominent German-Russian soprano Marina Russmann are increasingly seen on his calendar. Their cooperation has been warmly praised. For example, Nikolaus Furch wrote in the Kirner "Wochenspiegel":

"... Marina Russmann sang with pure expressiveness... . Christian Strauss' highly sensitive playing as accompanist and concert pianist enhanced the concert evening to wondrous effect ...”

Finally, Christian Strauss has been an esteemed piano teacher for many years. Often, he has prepared students for successful admissions auditions to formal study at respected conservatories. An impressive number of students have been prize winners and finalists in major competitions. For example, 1st Prize in the “Karel Kunc Competition”- Bad Dürkheim; and 2nd Prize in the “piano solo” category in the nationwide “Jugend musiziert” / “Young Musicians Competition.” Indeed, the fine reputation he earned as a pianist-mentor led to his being invited to serve among the illustrious panel of jurors who adjudicate the “Jugend musiziert” pianist applicants.