Christian Altenburger studied at the University of Music in his hometown of Vienna and with Dorothy DeLay at the Juilliard School in New York.
At 19, he made his debut as a soloist at the Vienna Musikverein. This was soon followed by engagements with top international orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Concertgebouworchester Amsterdam, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra under Claudio Abbado, Dennis Russel Davies, Christoph von Dohnányi, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Václáv Neumann, Dennis Russell Davies, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Franz Welser- Möst and others.
In addition to his appearances as a soloist, chamber music has become an important aspect of his artistic work. His chamber music partners include: Bruno Canino, Patrick Demenga, Heinz Holliger, Nobuko Imai, Kim Kashkashian, Reinhard Latzko, Michele Lethiec, Melvyn Tan, Lars Anders Tomter and Lars Vogt.
Since 2003, Christian Altenburger has been Artistic Director of the Schwäbische Frühling Music Festival whose architecturally attractive concert venues in southern Germany offer an ideal ambiance for chamber music as well as Symphony Orchestra concerts.
In 2006 Altenburger became Artistic Director of the Loisiarte Festival in Langenlois, Austria. The festival takes place in the extraordinary surroundings of the Loisium designed by architect Steven Holl.
Altenburger’s strong advocacy for the performance of contemporary music has resulted in premiers and recordings of composers such as Theodor Berger, Bert Breit, Gottfried von Einem, Wilhelm Killmayer, Thomas Larcher, Witold Lutoslawski, Werner Pirchner and Kurt Schwertsik.
Numerous recordings are available on labels such as Classic Amadeo, CPO, Guild, Japan Victor, Oehms Classics, ORF, Pro Arte und Sony.
For many years, Christian Altenburger held a professorship at the Hannover University of Music. In 2001, he was appointed a professorship at the Vienna University of Music.