Bernhard Ruchti is a pianist, organist, composer, and musical researcher. He was born in 1974 in Berkeley, California (USA), and grew up in Switzerland. He obtained Master’s degrees in concert performance for piano and organ studies in Zurich, Winterthur, and Stuttgart.
Most of his musical activities are focused in St. Gallen (Switzerland), where he has been the Music Director of St. Laurenzen church since 2013. The church is one of the main concert venues in St. Gallen. Bernhard is Artistic Director of several major concert series. As the Musical Director of the annual St. Gallen Silent Film Festival, he and others play the original Wurlitzer Theatre Organ at St. Georgen Parish Hall.
As a performer, he focuses on the performance practice of the 19th century, with special attention to historical tempo. Since 2018, he has created and directed the “A Tempo Project” – a unique research and recording project dedicated to tempo, time, and rhythm in piano and organ music of the 19th century. The project has received international acclaim. In 2021, he published his book about Franz Liszt’s insightful ideas on performance practice for the Fantasy and Fugue on “Ad Nos, ad salutarem undam” for organ.
Interestingly, Bernhard Ruchti also initiated and directed the restoration and installation of an original American 1923 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ at a parish hall in St. Gallen in 2014. Since 2016, he has developed an innovative concept to rebuild and redesign the organ at St. Laurenzen Church in St. Gallen. The existing organ will integrate three new sets of organ pipes located on three balconies, the new sets representing the three main organ pipe sound families. Altogether this creates a unique “surround sound” experience. The instrument was inaugurated during a two-weeks festival in September 2023.
Another of Bernhard’s passions is arranging and accompanying chansons.
As a composer, he has written works for piano, organ, and ensemble.
In 2017, he received the annual cultural activities award from the City of St. Gallen.