Peter Schreier, conductor
Peter Schreier was born in Meissen, the son of a church cantor and music teacher. As a young member of the Dresden Kreuzchor he was entrusted with many solo parts, including Solo Alto in Bach Oratorios. After finishing high school studies he attended the State Academy of Music, Dresden until 1959, where he studied singing with Herbert Winkler and Johannes Kemter, conducting with Ernst Hintze and choral conducting with Martin Flämig.
In 1959 he gave his operatic debut as the ‘Erste Gefangener’ in Beethoven’s Fidelio. He joined the Dresden State Opera in 1961 and in the following year had his first big success in the role of Belmonte in Mozart’s ‘Abduction from the Seraglio’.
In 1963 he was engaged by the German State Opera as a guest soloist, and this was followed in 1969 by an engagement with the Vienna State Qpera. In 1966 Peter Schreier performed the role of the ‘young seaman’ from Tristan und Isolde at the Bayreuth Festival, and in the next year he appeared at the Salzburg Festival, where he performed every year for the following 25 years.
Further debuts followed in the role of Tamino at New York’s Metropolitan Qpera and at Milan’s La Scala and Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon.
He has been widely acknowledged for his outstanding achievements; the State of Bavaria, Austria and the former West Germany have all recognized his musical contribution with the honorary title, “Kammersänger”.
Peter Schreier has been an Honorary Professor of Singing since September 1981. He is an Honorary Member of the Musical Society of Vienna (since 1986), member of the Musical Academies of Munich and Berlin (since 1989), and has been a member of the Royal Swedish Arts Academy since May 1989.
His awards include the German National Award (former GDR), 1st Class (1972,1986), as well as the Leonie Sonnigs Music Award, Copenhagen (1988).
In 1994 he received both the Georg Philipp Telemann Prize of the city of Magdeburg and the Wartburg Prize. For his efforts in Mozart Operas he was awarded the Wiener Flötenuhr and in 1988 he was awarded the Ernst von Siemens Prize in Munich, an honour that has also been bestowed upon Leonard Bernstein, Wolfgang Sawallisch and Claudio Abbado.
From the beginning of his long career, Peter Schreier has made a name for himself as a world-class Mozart Tenor. He himself considers Mozart operatic roles as a core piece of his life’s work, however regularly performs other operatic roles such as Loge in Das Rheingold and the title role in Palestrina.
He has a similarly comprehensive repertoire in the realm of classical/romantic cantatas and oratorios. Furthermore, his great passion is as a performer of song, with which he has given recitals in all of the most prestigious concert halls oft he world.
Due to his former membership of the Dresden Kreuzchor, and linked to his Saxon protestant cantoral heritage, he considers the works of Bach to be the centrepiece of his artistic efforts.
Schreier has been appreciated for decades as a highly intelligent and sensitive interpreter of song, evident through bis extensive discography, including all musical styles up until the present. In the years from 1990 to 1991 he committed the three great song cycles of Schubert to compact disc with the pianist Andras Schiff. These recordings were recognized with the English Gramophone Avery Prize.
Since 1979 Peter Schreier has also appeared publicly as a conductor. He has undertaken the direction of Bach‘s Passions and the Christmas Oratorio, and the role of ‘the evangelist’ (in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Vienna, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Cologne).
Concerts with the Dresdner Staatskapelle, Berliner Philharmonisches Orchester, Wiener Symphoniker, Mozarteum-Orchester, Gurzenich-Orchester, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg and the Los Angeles Philharmonie Orchestra have made him a widely sought-after conductor.