The Hamburg born Countertenor Kai Wessel studied music at the Lübeck Academy of Music where he majored in music theory (Prof. Roland Ploeger), composition (Prof.Dr. Friedhelm Döhl) and voice. As a voice student of Prof. Ute von Garczynski and a guest student for baroque performance practice (René Jacobs) at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis, he passed his concert examination with honours. Wessel has received numerous prizes and fellowships and has performed concerts, operas , radio broadcasts, and sung in 100 CD recordings working with conductors such as: of Philippe Herreweghe, Gustav Leonhardt, Ton Koopman, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, William Christie, Martin Haselböck, Michael Schneider, Hans Werner Henze, Arturo Tamayo, Sylvain Cambreling, Peter Rundel, Heinz Holliger, Iván Fischer, Emilio Pomárico, Kent Nagano, Markus Stenz, Franz Welser-Möst a.o.
As one of the leading countertenors, Kai Wessel has performed at music festivals and opera houses all over the world. For ten years, he was a regular guest at the Basel Theatre working with renowned stage directors i.e. Herbert Wernicke, Karin Beier, Claus Guth and Joachim Schlömer.
A number of contemporary Composers such as Mauricio Kagel, Heinz Holliger, Klaus Huber, Isabel Mundry, Chaya Czernowin, Karola Obermüller, Rebecca Saunders, Georg Friedrich Haas, Jörg Widmann, Stefano Gervasoni, Helmut Oehring and Matthias Pintscher have written parts and works for him.
Kai Wessel is Professor for Voice and Historical Performance Practice at the University of Cologne for Music and Dance. He was also teaching Voice at the former Conservatory Vienna Private University/Austria (2006 to 2012) and Voice with focus on Contemporary Vocal Literature at the University of Bern/Switzerland (2014 to 2020).
In recent years, Kai Wessel has made a name for himself as a conductor (studies with Jerome Preysinger), performing the Pastorale „Il Narciso“ by F.A.M.Pistocchi (the first performance in 300 years), A.Caldara’s „Il Batista“ and J.S.Bach’s „St John’s Passion“.
Cologne, January 2020