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Christian Thielemann

Humanitas Visiting Professor in Opera Studies

The 2015/2016 season is Christian Thielemann’s fourth as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle. He began his professional career in 1978 as a rehearsal pianist at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin; following engagements in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe and Hanover he joined the conducting staff of Rhine Opera in Dusseldorf in 1985, moving to Nuremberg three years later to occupy the post of Generalmusikdirektor. In 1997 he returned to his hometown of Berlin to direct the Deutsche Oper until 2004, when he became Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic, a post he occupied until 2011. In addition to his current position in Dresden, Thielemann has been Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival since 2013, where the Staatskapelle is resident orchestra.

Christian Thielemann has contributed to the birthday celebrations for Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss of the past two years with numerous Staatskapelle concerts in the Semperoper and on tour, as well as new productions of »Elektra« in Dresden and »Parsifal« and »Arabella« in Salzburg. In November 2014 he conducted the new »Arabella« and »Capriccio« for the Semperoper’s Strauss Festival, and one month later was once again on the rostrum for »Rosenkavalier«. »Opernwelt« magazine crowned him »Conductor of the Year« for his interpretation of »Frau ohne Schatten« at the Salzburg Festival of 2011.

Christian Thielemann maintains close ties to the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. Following his debut at the Bayreuth Festival in 2000 conducting »Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg«, he has returned every year to thrill audiences with benchmark interpretations. In 2010 he was appointed the festival’s Musical Advisor, since June 2015 he has been Music Director of the festival. Much in demand as a versatile concert conductor, he has collaborated with the world’s leading orchestras in Amsterdam, London, New York, Chicago and Philadelphia, and has also performed in Israel, Japan and China.

As a UNITEL exclusive artist, Christian Thielemann has a comprehensive catalogue of recordings. Alongside the New Year’s Eve Concerts of 2010 to 2013, he has already released many CDs and DVDs with the Staatskapelle featuring symphonic works by Beethoven, Liszt, Bruckner, Reger, Pfitzner and Busoni as well as »Arabella«, »Ariadne auf Naxos« and »Elektra« by Richard Strauss and Wagner’s »Parsifal«. One of the most recent ventures has been a complete cycle of the symphonies of Johannes Brahms. He has recorded all of Beethoven’s symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.

Christian Thielemann is an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London and holds honorary doctorates from the Franz Liszt College of Music in Weimar and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. In May 2015 he was awarded the Richard Wagner prize by the Richard Wagner Society of the city of Leipzig.