Borletti-Buitoni Trust
BBT Artists Rewarding Musical Excellence
Christian Poltéra
BBT Award 2004

Christian Poltéra - Biography

Christian Poltéra was supported by Borletti-Buitoni Trust between 2004 and 2008.  For an up to date biography visit

Born in Zurich, cellist Christian Poltéra was a pupil of Nancy Chumachenco and Boris Pergamenschikov before studying with Heinrich Schiff in Salzburg and Vienna.

Since replacing Yo-Yo Ma performing the Elgar concerto with the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich under David Zinman at the age of 17, Christian Poltéra has steadily established himself as one of the most prominent cellists of his generation. As soloist he has worked with many of the eminent orchestras of the world including the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Santa Cecilia in Rome, Los Angeles and Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras, BBC Symphony Orchestra under conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, John Eliot Gardiner, Paavo Järvi and Andris Nelsons.

Christian Poltéra also devotes himself intensively to chamber music, working with Gidon Kremer, Christian Tetzlaff and Martin Fröst among others, as well as the Auryn, Belcea, and Zehetmair Quartets. In 2008 he joined Mitsuko Uchida in performances of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. The concerts of the Zimmermann Trio, together with violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and violist Antoine Tamestit, are an integral part of the most prestigious concert venues worldwide.

In 2004 he received the Borletti-Buitoni Award and was selected as a BBC New Generation Artist and made his BBC Proms debut with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 2007.

Christian Poltéra’s much acclaimed recordings reflect his versatile and extensive repertoire. Among the award-winning CD recordings include the cello concertos by Dvorak, Walton, Ligeti, Barber, Dutilleux, Lutoslawski, Honegger (BBT Project), Hindemith, Martin (BBT Project), Shostakovich and Martinů as well as sonatas by Mendelssohn (including BBC Music Magazine Award, Gramophone Choice, Diapson D’Or de l’année), Fauré and Saint-Saens.

He plays the legendary Mara cello 1711 from the workshop of Antonio Stradivari.

Poltéra participated in BBT’s 20th-anniversary celebrations at London’s Wigmore Hall, June 2023.

I feel very fortunate and grateful to have been chosen to benefit from the unique support the Borletti-Buitoni Trust offers. What makes this Trust so important, especially to me, is partly the fact that it excludes any competition among young musicians but instead truly believes in the individual potential and development of each of the chosen candidates. This kind of help, collaboration and trust makes me feel truly supported and encouraged in my work.

Photographs by Simon Weir; Nikolaj Lund