As Director of Music at St. Michael’s Church in Hamburg, Christoph Schoener ranks among the most eminent exponents of his discipline in his generation. Alongside his duties as choirmaster of the Chor St. Michaelis he still finds time to continue with undiminished energy and internationally the career as concert organist he began as a young man.
He has regularly performed all of Bach’s large-scale works as well as major works for choir and orchestra by Monteverdi, Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Bruckner, Verdi, Liszt, Poulenc, Martin, Rihm and Bernstein with the Chor St. Michaelis.
Born in Heidelberg, he studied at the Freiburg Conservatory up to his A examination and solo diploma in organ. His organ teacher Ludwig Doerr, whose assistant he later became, introduced him to the historically informed performing practice of early music, still a rare animal in Germany at that time, and to the symphonic organ repertoire. His piano teachers Carl Seemann and Edith Picht-Axenfeldt broadened his horizons beyond church music.
A scholarship from the »Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes« enabled him to study for a year with Gaston Litaize in Paris, completing his studies there with the »Premier Prix à l’unanimité«. Further studies followed in Amsterdam with Ewald Kooiman, who had a profound and lasting influence on his Bach interpretations.
It was during this phase that Christoph Schoener’s international concert activities began. Over and above his concerts in many cities in Germany, he gave recitals in cathedrals and concert halls all over Europe as well as in the USA. In 2013/2014 he gave recitals at, among other venues, the cathedrals in Cologne, Bremen and Oslo, the minsters of Basel, Berne and Freiburg, at the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the »Symphonic Organ Festival« at Aarhus in Denmark as well as in Milan, Berlin (the Konzerthaus am Gendarmenmarkt) and in the Philharmonie in St. Petersburg.
Numerous radio recordings and more than ten CDs with works by Bach, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Brahms, Reubke, Widor, Vierne, Reger and Dupré document his prowess as an organist. Christoph Schoener currently has an exclusive recording contract with the MDG Label (Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm).
Up to his appointment in Hamburg in 1998, Christoph Schoener was Director of Music in Leverkusen as well as choirmaster of the Leverkusener Bachchor, and taught a class for the organ at the Robert Schumann Conservatory in Düsseldorf. From 1991 to 1996 he held in addition the post of Landeskirchenmusikdirektor of the Lutheran Church in the Rhineland.
In 2004 he was artistic director of the 79th Bach Festival held in Hamburg by the Neue Bachgesellschaft.
In the winter semester 2013/14, Christoph Schoener held a guest professorship for the organ at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater »Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy« in Leipzig.