Andreas Scholl is one of the world's best-known performers of Baroque music for countertenor. He grew up in Kiedrich, in the Rhine region of Germany, where his father was the conductor of the Kiedricher Chorbuben (Kiedrich Choir Boys).
Andreas and his siblings Johannes and Elisabeth all sang in the choir. His voice settled down into a baritone speaking range; however, he found he could still sing soprano parts in the choir. One of the vocal coaches soon recognized that Scholl had a countertenor voice. At that point he began listening to recordings, especially Alfred Deller and James Bowman. A typical teenager, Scholl joined, wrote songs, and recorded with a rock group. He still retains an interest in composing and loves popular music, releasing Andreas Scholl Goes Pop in 2007.
Scholl realized most of his opportunities for a singing career would include early music. He attended the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basle, Switzerland, from 1987 to 1993. He soon overcame deficiencies in his theory and ear-training preparation, as a student of Richard Levitt and René Jacobs. He also had the benefit of interpretation classes with Emma Kirkby, Anthony Rooley, and Evelyn Tubb.
In 1993 his teacher Jacobs fell ill and was unable to keep a concert commitment at the Théâtre de Grévin in France, and recommended Scholl as his replacement. Scholl scored a major success in what amounted to his professional debut on an important international stage. He appeared with Jacobs in a live broadcast concert of Bach's St. John Passion. Going home on the train that night, he met William Christie, who had attended the concert and invited Scholl to sing on his planned recording of Handel's Messiah. The success of that recording led to an extensive recording career for Scholl.
He began exclusively as a concert singer, singing with the leading early music groups of Europe and elsewhere. It was not until 1998 that he first appeared in opera when he portrayed Bertarido in Handel's Rodelinda at the Glyndebourne Festival in England. Along the way he has won the Conseil de L'Europe and Claude Nicolas Ledoux Foundation awards in 1992. He has won numerous recording prizes, including a Gramophone Award for Vivaldi's Stabat Mater in 1996 and Caldara's Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo in 1997 for Best Baroque Vocal. In 1998 he won the Cannes Classical Award for a disc of English folk songs. He won the ECHO Classic Award in 1999, and in 1998 was the German Kultur Radio Artist of the Year. He won a second ECHO Award in 2005 for his composition for Deutsche Grammophon's audiobook of Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor and The Nightingale. Arias for Senesino won the 2006 Classical Brit Singer of the Year award. In addition to continuing his concert and operatic career, Scholl has returned to the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis to teach as the successor to his instructor Levitt.