Lauded in Gramophone for his “abundant energy, powerful fingers, big sound, and natural musicality,” and praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “fervency and panache,” American pianist Christopher Atzinger is celebrated for insightful performances and a reputation for excellence. He has performed extensively throughout the United States and Europe, highlighted by recital performances at Carnegie Hall (New York), Salle Cortot (Paris), St. Martin-in-the-Fields (London), National Concert Hall (Dublin), American Academy (Rome), Liszt Museum (Budapest), Barocco Cultural Arts (Valletta), the Smithsonian Gallery of American Art and Phillips Collection (Washington), and the Dame Myra Hess Series (Chicago). Mr. Atzinger has performed at the Banff, Brevard, Chautauqua, Mendocino, and Bridge music festivals.
Mr. Atzinger is a medalist of the New Orleans, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Shreveport and Seattle international piano competitions. He is also winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs Artist Competition and the Simone Belsky Piano Competition, as well as the Premio Città di Ispica prize at the IBLA Grand Prize Competition in Italy. Additionally, he is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Theodore Presser Foundation, Foundation La Gesse, American Composers Forum and Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation. Most recently, he was awarded a $25,000 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Artists.
Christopher Atzinger’s live performances have aired on radio stations WFMT-Chicago, WJR-Detroit, WXEL-South Florida, KPAC-San Antonio, WUOL-Louisville, and WGTE-Toledo and on Kansas, South Dakota, and New England Public Radio, along with television stations in Chicago and Cincinnati. His recordings have also been featured on WQXR-New York, WGBH-Boston, Minnesota Public Radio, and nationally on American Public Media’s Performance Today. As guest soloist, he has appeared with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, North Carolina’s Brevard Repertory Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of Shreveport, Duluth-Superior, Springfield (MA), Jackson (MI) and St. Olaf, under the batons of Klauspeter Seibel, Steven Smith, Dennis Simons, Dirk Meyer, Kevin Rhodes, Stephen Osmond, Mischa Santora, and Steven Amundson.
Mr. Atzinger’s discography includes three highly praised albums released on the MSR Classics label – a debut solo recording of Bach, Beethoven, Barber and Fritze; and all-Brahms album; and “American Lyricism” featuring works by Christopher Theofanidis, Richard Danielpour, Monica Houghton, Pierre Jalbert, and Justin Merritt. He has also recorded works of Judith Lang Zaimont for Naxos and music of Amy Beach for Centaur Records.
Also having interests in collaborative music, Mr. Atzinger has performed with violinist Igor Yuzefovich (concertmaster, Singapore Symphony), cellists Douglas Harvey (principal, Austin Symphony), and Michael Kannen (Peabody Conservatory); clarinetist Jun Qian (Baylor Univ); sopranos Kelly Kaduce, Mary Wilson, and Brenda Nicole Atzinger; pianists Gloria Reimer (Conservatorio Santa Cecilia-Rome) and Kathryn Ananda-Owens (St. Olaf College); and several members of the Minnesota Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In addition to being a winner of the Sydney Wright Memorial Collaborative Piano Competition, he has also collaborated with the Chamber Music Society of Minnesota and the Minneapolis Music Company.
A Michigan native, Christopher began piano lessons at age six. He went on to earn degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and University of Michigan, and the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University. Among his principal teachers he counts Julian Martin, Robert McDonald, Anton Nel, David Renner and Carolyn Lipp. Additional keyboard studies were undertaken with Timothy Lovelace, Edward Parmentier and Penelope Crawford. A dedicated teacher and coach himself, Dr. Atzinger taught at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, prior to joining the St. Olaf College music faculty in 2005 where he is currently an Associate Professor of Music. He has also lectured at The Juilliard School and Berklee College of Music, and conducted masterclasses throughout the United States.
When not onstage or in the teaching studio, Christopher can be found at home with his wife, Brenda, their three children, Abigail, Brandon, and Isaac, and their family pet, a Boston Terrier named Annabelle. In his spare time, he enjoys college football, billiards, and traveling.