Born in Switzerland, Bachmann’s musical talent soon became obvious and at the age of five he received his first piano lessons from the Swiss composer and folksong researcher Alfred Leonz Gassmann, who also instructed him in composition. He continued his musical training at the Lucerne Conservatory. Rafael Kubelik credited the young Bachmann with, “an outstanding talent for orchestral conducting,” when he gained his first practical experience as administrator of Kubelik’s conducting course, held in association with the Lucerne International Music Festival in 1961/62. He completed his conducting and musical studies in 1968 in Berlin as master student of professor Herbert Ahlendorf at the Berlin Conservatory, formerly known as the “Stern’sches Konservatorium”, and at the Berlin Academy of Music.
Bachmann achieved international recognition in 1965 at the Concours des jeunes chefs d’orchestre in Besançon. During the same year he made his debut with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 8 at the Festival International des Jeunes Artistes in Leysin. In 1966 he was invited to assist General Music Director Ljubomir Romansky at the German opera house “Musiktheater im Revier” in Gelsenkirchen.
He made his London debut in 1980, and since then has worked with such prestigious British orchestras as the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and Royal Philharmonic. He first conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1989 and this collaboration resulted in their subsequent recording of the complete symphonies of Brahms. His association with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra led to a highly acclaimed series of concerts dedicated to the work of Anton Bruckner, including the British première of the fully-completed 9th Symphony.
In 1992 Bachmann had been invited by the Zagreb Philharmonic to conduct the concert for freedom and peace for Croatia and the Balkans. Since 1993 Bachmann has been Artistic Director of the Budapest Whitsun Festival where he conducted the Budapest Symphony and Budapest Philharmonic orchestras, including recordings for CD and television. Bachmann’s video and CD recordings with the Budapest Philharmonic, Budapest Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia and London Philharmonic orchestras have drawn worldwide acclaim.
In 1999 Bachmann became Associate Conductor of the Russian National Orchestra. The highly acclaimed collaboration with this outstanding Russian orchestra in Moscow was dedicated to the symphonies of Anton Bruckner.
Robert Christian Bachmann was one of those artists for whom creative and post-creative activity constitute a unity and necessitate one another. The composer is simultaneously a conductor, and the conductor a composer who sees classical scores with the eyes of a discoverer.
With his transmedial work ULURU, Bachmann has opened up new horizons in complex multidimensional tone structures with the world’s first cyber opera. ULURU has been recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Voices and the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and also has been performed in association with UNESCO by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.
Bachmann’s interests extended beyond music into other artistic forms and concepts. In particular, he has long been fascinated by the expressive potential of multicultural, multidisciplinary projects bringing together diverse elements and influences. He has a keen interest in the music of indigenous peoples, and field studies in music ethnology have led Bachmann to remote places in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Polynesia and the High Arctic regions, thus allowing him to collect unique sound samples from throughout the world.
Bachmann also served as an advisor and counsellor to cultural institutions and organizations. The World Economic Forum (WEF), Geneva, has awarded him the honorary title “Forum Fellow” and “Cultural Leader”. In this capacity, Bachmann conducted the Russian National Orchestra at the WEF’s Jubilee Charity Concert in 2000 in Davos, Switzerland.
The Primate of Hungary, Cardinal Erdő, appointed Bachmann as professor of music at the Esztergom College of Theology. Since 2007 Bachmann was professor and director of the St. Gellért Institute of Music and Ethics at the Ferenc Gál College of Theology Szeged. He was cofounder and artistic director of the St. Gellért Academy and the St. Gellért Festival at the Minster of Szeged.
Bachmann is the author of several books which have become reference works in their field. He has made a name for himself as a musicologist and publisher with his publications on outstanding artistic personalities and related themes.
In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI. awarded Robert Christian Bachmann the distinction of knighthood by according the Papal honour of “Knight Commander of the Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great”. The Holy Father was pleased to confer this honour upon Bachmann “for his work of infusing Christian understandings and values in the field of culture” and his contribution “to the advancement of harmony among nations and peoples” and for being effective “in the furtherance of intercultural understandings”.
In 2011 Robert Christian Bachmann has been honoured with the prestigious Hungarian PRO CULTURA HUNGARICA award in recognition of his merits in “promoting the values of Hungarian culture abroad as well as enriching the cultural relations between the Hungarian nation and other countries.”
The President of Hungary, Dr. János Áder, awarded Robert Christian Bachmann the Order of Merit of Hungary, Officer’s Cross, in 2012 “for his invaluable merits” in furthering cultural relationships between the Hungarian and other nations and for supporting Hungarian culture.