Erwin Ortner, born 1947 in Vienna, was a member of the Vienna Boys Choir before he studied music education, sacral music and conducting with Hans Swarowsky and Hans Gillesberger in Vienna. From 1980 to 2016, he taught choral conducting as a professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, which he headed as rector from 1996 to 2002. In 1972, he founded the Arnold Schoenberg Chor, a choir that under his direction soon became one of the leading ensembles in Europe. Between 1983 and 1995, he also acted as chief conductor of the ORF radio choir.
Erwin Ortner regularly directs concerts in Austria and abroad, and holds masterclasses in choral and orchestral conducting. In 2010, he was appointed artistic director of the Wiener Hofmusikkapelle, which was established in 1498. Erwin Ortner was awarded a Grammy for best choir performance in 2002 for the recording of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion and received the Echo prize for Haydn’s The Seasons with Concentus Musicus Wien under Nikolaus Harnoncourt in 2010.