Christian Euler was born in Kassel. His father, the lyric baritone Horst Euler, was active at the State Theatre there from 1939 onwards, was a Professor at the Music Academy in Würzburg from 1968 until 1980 and profoundly influenced his son’s musical sensitivity with his activities. Roles such as Gluck’s Orpheus, Mozart’s Papageno, Rossini’s Figaro and Lortzing’s Tsar belonged to the singer’s permanent repertoire and influenced the tone of the instrumentalist in a thoroughly natural way.
Christian Euler’s artistic education also proceeded naturally and organically. After having received his first violin lessons at the age of seven and still preferring to play the piano as a teenager, he switched to the viola during his high school years with which – accompanied by the school orchestra of the Friedrichsgymnasium – he gave his first solo performance: the Concerto of Georg Philipp Telemann. His path then led via the Music Academy in Cologne – where Christian Euler was taught by the Belgian violist Gérard Ruymen – more or less directly to the New York Juilliard School. His teacher there was Margaret Pardee, the assistant of the legendary Ivan Galamian, who had mastered not only the violin but also the viola, and who knew very well how to teach her pupils the specific technique of her “boss” in all authentic details.
Christian Euler then attended Galamian’s summer school Meadowmount, studied chamber music with Josef Gingold and with members of the Juilliard Quartet, also receiving advanced instruction from Walter Trampler, Harvey Shapiro and Emanuel Vardi – whereby the last-named left an especially clear and lasting mark. The young Bachelor of Music was initially at the disposal of the New York Philharmonic as a “regular stand-in” for a year, before coming to the Philadelphia Orchestra where he stayed until 1991. Having meanwhile received his Master’s Degree from the Juilliard School, he was able to experience at close hand, as deputy solo violist, conductors of the calibre of Leonard Bernstein, Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Erich Leinsdorf, Rafael Kubelik and Klaus Tennstedt. As a member of the Philadelphia Chamber Ensemble and other formations, he dedicated himself intensively to chamber music, alongside his orchestral tasks, which brought him together with Franco Gulli, Bruno Giuranna, Natalia Gutman, Radu Lupu, Ulf Hoelscher, Silvia Marcovici and other renowned colleagues over the course of his career.
When, at the beginning of the 1990s, Christian Euler was offered a professorship in viola and chamber music at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Graz, he accepted – provided with, amongst others, a letter of recommendation from his former music director Riccardo Muti, who left the site of his activities at practically the same time, handing over the directorship of the fabulous ensemble to his designated successor, Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Christian Euler has now been teaching in Graz since 1991, where he is also chairman of the string department. His chamber music activities have had to take a backseat, to a certain extent. Alternating regularly between his first residence in Munich and the second one in the Styrian capital, he pursues the goal with his pupils, in his own words, of taking the “countless jokes about the viola” to the point of absurdity. At the master courses that he has so far given in Germany, Spain, Canada, Poland, Croatia, Estonia, Cyprus and Bulgaria, he deals both with musical and technical questions and with the communication of a frequently unrecognised fact: that the viola looks like the violin at first glance, but is in fact very much its own instrument and, as a result of this, inhabits its very own sound world.