Christian Ostertag is one of the most versatile musicians of his generation. As soloist, concertmaster, chamber musician, and professor of violin, he has earned a reputation that inspires trust and expectations among audiences and students. Critics praise his warm, emotional, and protean sound ("a singer on the instrument") that combines stylistic and technical accurance. The New York Times termed his playing at his debut as "sweet, strong and sure, excellent." Above all, inner focus, temperament, and spark makes concerts by Christian Ostertag laudable experiences. The uncompromising search for profound content in works and a consistent refusal of facile performance and fashions of all kinds have played a large part in his success.
He was born into a German-Hungarian musical family in Karlsruhe in 1963. His grandmother was a violinist, his mother a pianist, and his father the noted cellist Martin Ostertag. Christian Ostertag was surrounded by music from the start and began violin lessons at an early age. After studies with renowned teachers such as Walery Gradow and Rainer Kussmaul and summer courses with such diverse musical personalities as Sándór Végh, Ruggiero Ricci, and Rony Rogoff, his career was propelled when he won first prize at the German Music Competition in Bonn in 1990 and was recorded as part of the 35th national selection of Young Concert Artists.
After winning his first permanent job as first concertmaster of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra ( German Opera on the Rhine) in 1993, in 1996 he joined the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg, now the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by chief conductor Teodor Currentzis. He also worked as soloist for the conductors Michael Gielen, François-Xavier Roth, and Sylvain Cambreling. Intense collaboration with composers such as György Kúrtág, Pierre Boulez, Péter Eötvös, Helmut Lachenmann, Hans Zender, Marc André, Jörg Widmann, and Wolfgang Rihm ensued naturally.
Many radio and CD recordings document his versatility and violinistic skills. A CD of the First Violin Concerto by Béla Bartók (Hänssler Classics) made the short list of the German Record Critics' Award. Strauss' Ein Heldenleben with the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra of Baden-Baden and Freiburg directed by chief conductor François-Xavier Roth was unanimously praised by critics. Leonard Bernstein's Serenade, also led by François-Xavier Roth, was recorded in live stream format and is available at the Southwest German Radio Media Library.
In major concert halls of Berlin, Cologne, Munich, and Hamburg (Elbe Philharmonic Hall ), New York‘s Weill Recital Hall, the Tonhalle Zurich, Tokyo‘s Suntory Hall, Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica, at festivals in Berlin (March Music), the Rheingau Festival, Festival d'automne (Paris), the Salzburg Festival, and Wien Modern, he regularly performs in different formations. In 2001, the Cultural Foundation Pro Europa in Freiburg awarded him a European Soloist Prize.
Christian Ostertag's great passion is chamber music, performed with musicians such as László Fenyö, Hariolf Schlichtig, Kalle Randalu, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Božo Paradžik, Wolfgang Güttler, Maria Stange, Matthias Kirschnereit, Ingolf Turban, Wen Sinn Yang, Paul Rivinius, Ulf Rodenhäuser, Kilian Herold, and in a duo with Fritz Schwinghammer.
In addition to his orchestral work, in 2005, Christian Ostertag began to teach as professor of violin at the University of Music Trossingen. Since the fall term of 2017, he is professor at the University of Music Karlsruhe. His students have won prizes and have been hired by first-class orchestras.