When Holger Falk won the prestigious Echo Klassik award for in 2016, it was indicative of his talents that the award was given not for the Lieder repertory that one might have expected from a rising young German baritone, but for a complete recording of Erik Satie's mélodies and chansons. The magazine Opernwelt called Falk "one of the most intellectually and vocally most flexible singer on German stages.
Coming from a thoroughly musical family on both sides, including a Black Forest farmer grandfather who advised him to learn music so that he could pick up local entertainment gigs to earn extra money, Falk had his first vocal training with the famed Regensburger Domspatzen, the Regensburg Cathedral Boys' Choir. (Asked by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung whether he had witnessed the cases of sexual abuse there that have been reported in German media, he said he had not.) Falk went on to study voice at Würzburg Conservatory, where his teachers were Sigune von Osten, Franco Corelli, and Neil Semer. Early in his career he landed roles at Warsaw's National Opera, the Teatro Real Madrid, and Germany's Munich State Opera, among others. Clearly he was headed for a successful career, but then that career took a left turn.
"Shall I give the twentieth-thousandth Don Giovanni of operatic history, which is only a little different in its sound color?" Falk asked. In fact he did, but he also began to specialize in contemporary music, with Wolfgang Rihm a special favorite. He has also performed music of Miroslav Srnka, Péter Eötvös, and Michael Wertmüller, among others. Falk has also performed Baroque works at the Boston Early Music Festival and has worked with historical-performance conductors Konrad Junghänel and Christopher Hogwood. One of his 2017 engagements was a role in Eötvös' Der goldene Drache at the Frankfurt Opera.
Falk has recorded for the audiophile MDG label. His first appearance was on a disc by his frequent piano collaborator Steffen Schleiermacher, devoted the the influence of Expressionist poet August Schramm. In addition to Satie he has recorded three volumes of Poulenc songs as well as Lieder of Rihm and, in 2017, the first of a multi-volume set of recordings of the songs of Hanns Eisler.