The Canadian lyric tenor, Colin Balzer, received his formal musical training at the University of British Columbia with David Meek and at the Hochschule für Musik Nürnberg / Augsburg with Edith Wiens. He has particpated in master-classes with such artists as Philip Langridge, Helmut Deutsch, Robert Tear, Elly Ameling, Brigitte Fassbaender, Rudolph Jansen, and Christoph Prégardien, and also attended both the Britten-Pears School in Alderburgh and the Franz Schubert Institut in Baden, Austria. He won prize at the prestigious Holland's 's-Hertogenbosch Competition, as well as prizes in several competitions in Germany, including the Hugo Wolf Competition in Stuttgart, the 55th ARD International Music Competition in Munich, and he holds the rare distinction of earning the First Prize Gold Medal at the Robert Schumann Competition in Zwickau with the highest score in 25 years. In 2004 he took 2nd prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London, England with what the London Times called an "engaging stage presence and supple, subtle range of vocal colour... steady, sensuous line... witty sense of timing... and imaginative richesse."
An extraordinarily gifted lyric tenor combining assured musicality and the communicativeness and varied tonal palette of a lieder specialist, Colin Balzer is fast becoming one of the most sought-after concert soloists of his generation, with a busy schedule of international engagements. Now based in Germany and with a repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Penderecki, he has enjoyed critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, working with such conductors as Helmuth Rilling, Simone Young, Simon Preston, Leopold Hager, Bernard Labadie, Kenneth Montgomery, Mario Venzago, Yoav Talmi, Gabriel Chmura and Christof Perick, and performing with such orchestras as the Hungarian National Radio Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Luxembourg Symphony, Het Brabants Orkest, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Münchener Kammerorchester, Les Boréades de Montreal, Tragicomedia, New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Oregon Symphony, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, among many others. Particularly esteemed as a recitalist, he has been welcomed at London's Wigmore Hall (accompanied by Graham Johnson), the Britten Festival in Aldeburgh, Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center, the Bruges Festival Musica Antiqua in Belgium, the Boston Early Music Festival, Festival Vancouver, the Vancouver Chamber Music Festival, the Wratislavia Cantans in Poland, and at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.
Performances in recent seasons included George Frideric Handelís Song of Solomon, and La Resurrezione with Early Music Vancouver. In the 2003-2004 season Colin Balzer sang masses from Charles Gounod, Bruckner, Dvorák, and Schubert, King David by Arthur Honegger, Felix Mendelssohn's Elijah, G.F. Handel's Messiah, Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at the Britten. Festival in England, Acis in a Munich production of Acis and Galatera, and Lucano, Soldato and Familiari in Festival Vancouver's production of Monteverdi's L'incoronatione di Poppea.
In the 2005-2006 season Colin Balzer appeared with the Het Brabants Orkest (Corneliusí Stabat Mater), the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in G.F. Handelís Athalia under the direction of Kenneth Montgomery, the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Victoria Symphony (both for G.F. Handelís Messiah), sang Mozartís Requiem with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, performed J.S. Bach and Georg Philipp Telemann cantatas at Early Music Vancouver, and in Mozartís Idomeneo with Leopold Hager conducting the Luxembourg Symphony. In addition he made important debuts with Bernard Labadie and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Mario Venzago and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, both in the Mozart Requiem. During the summer of 2005 he sang Wolfís Italienisches Liederbuch at Finlandís Savonlinna Festival, Acis in G.F. Handelís Acis and Galatea at Festival Vancouver, and the role of Gavust in the world-premiere performances of Johann Matthesonís Boris Goudenow at the Boston Early Music Festival (including a performance at Tanglewood).
In the 2006-2007 season Colin Balzer appeared with F. Mendelssohnís Paulus under Yoav Talmi for the Orchestre Symphonique de Québec, Concerto Palatino (Gabrielli program), Collegium Musicum Basel (orchestrated Schubert and Copland songs), Hansjörg Albrecht and the Münchener Bach-Chor (Mozartís Requiem and Freimauerer Cantata), Bernard Labadie and Les Violons du Roy (North American tour of Mozartís Requiem and Veserae solennes de confessore), Schwäbisches Oratorienchor (Robert Schumannís Paradies und die Peri), Early Music Vancouver and Les Boréades de Montreal (Bach cantatas), Ann Arbor Symphony, Calgary Symphony, and the Vancouver Cantata Singers (G.F. Handelís Messiah), Klauspeter Seibel and the Quebec Symphony (F. Mendelssohnís Paulus), Tafelmusik (J.S. Bachís St. John Passion (BWV 245) and G.F. Handelís Solomon) and a production of Lullyís Psyché at the Boston Early Music Festival, and a Mozart/Berlioz program for Music Director James Setapenís farewell concerts with the Amarillo Symphony.
Following summer 2007 performances of Lullyís Psyché with the Boston Early Music Festival, his 2007-2008 season includes concerts throughout Germany with the Münchener Bach-Chor; Bach Cantatas with Early Music Vancouver; J.S. Bachís Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) with the Leipziger Barockorchester; G.F. Handelís Messiah with Torontoís Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and the Victoria Symphony; J.S. Bachís B Minor Mass (BWV 232) with the Quebec Symphony, and J.S. Bachís St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244) on a European tour with Spainís Al Ayre Espagnol ensemble. In addition he performs G.F. Handel's Chandos Anthems in France, Germany and Poland with Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble. In 2008-2009 he will sing the title role of Monteverdi's Orfeo in Edmonton, Haydn's Die Schoepfung with Yoav Talmi and the Quebec Symphony; G.F. Handel's Messiah with the Calgary Philharmonic, the Mozart Requiem with the National Philharmonic and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass with Philippe Herreweghe and Collegium Vocale Gent.
Recordings to date include Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch and Hanns Eisler and Henze Lieder anthologies for Naxos. He has also been featured on "My Heart, My Home", a recording of folk songs and spirituals with the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Choir.