The Hamburg born Countertenor Kai Wessel studied music at the Lübeck Academy of Music where he majored in music theory (Prof. Roland Ploeger) and composition (Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Döhl). As a voice student of Prof. Ute von Garczynski and a guest student for baroque performance practice with 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 more than 100 CD recordings.
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). Several contemporary composers such as Mauricio Kagel, Heinz Holliger, Klaus Huber, Isabel Mundry, Chaya Czernowin, Olga Neuwirth, Georg Friedrich Haas, Jörg Widmann, Stefano Gervasoni and Matthias Pintscher have written parts or works for his voice.
Kai Wessel was teaching at the MUK Vienna (2006-2012) and the HKB Bern (2014-2020) and is Professor for Voice, Historical Performance Practice and Contemporary Vocal Literature at the University of Cologne for Music and Dance since 2009.
Kai Wessel has also made a name for himself as a conductor, performing the Pastorale Il Narciso by F.A.M. Pistocchi (the first performance in 300 years; WDR), A. Caldara’s Il Batista (WDR), J.S. Bach’s St John’s Passion and recently a Pastorale by Giacomo Greber (WDR) under his baton.
Kai Wessel is editing baroque and classical vocal repertoire at Edition WALHALL (Magdeburg) and is co-editor of The Countertenor (Schott 2012).