Markus Stenz - Conductor

Markus Stenz is the General Music Director of the City of Cologne and Gürzenich-Kapellmeister as well as Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra.

Studied at the School of Music in Cologne under Volker Wangenheim and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa, Markus Stenz has held the positions of Artistic Director of the Montepulciano Festival (1989 – 1995), Principal Conductor of the London Sinfonietta (1994 – 1998) – one of the most renowned ensembles for contemporary music. As Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1998 – 2004) Markus Stenz broadened his repertoire and established his career as an international conductor.

Markus Stenz
has held the position of Principal Conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra (Gürzenich-Kapellmeister) since 2003. He visited China with the orchestra in early 2008 and conducted their first ever BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in August 2008. In September 2010 he returned to China with the Gürzenich Orchestra and the opera of Cologne to conduct the first ever production of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” in Shanghai.

In the 2013/2014 season, his last in Cologne, he will again tour Asia with the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne from 15-23 February 2014, performing in Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing. Towards the end of the season, on 15 June 2014, he will also conduct a Richard Strauss gala concert in the Cologne Philharmonie to mark the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth (11 June 1864).

He made his debut as an opera conductor at La Fenice in Venice with Hans Werner Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers.  He has since conducted many world premieres and first performances including Henze’s Das Verratene Meer in Berlin, Venus und Adonis at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and L’Upupa at the 2003 Salzburg Festival.  Markus Stenz has appeared at many of the world’s major opera houses and international festivals including La Scala in Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Edinburgh International Festival, the Bregenz Festival (with the world premiere of  Solaris by Detlev Glanert in July 2012) and Salzburg Festival.

His notable opera performances in Cologne have included Wagner’s Ring, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Parsifal as well as Janacek’s Jenufa and Katya Kabanova. In the season 2013/2014 Markus Stenz will conduct in Cologne a new production of Carl Maria von Weber's Der Freischütz

conducts many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Berlin Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and the Symphony Orchestras of the Bayerische Rundfunk, the HR, the WDR and the NDR.  In the United States these have included the Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The label OehmsClassics is currently recording a complete cycle of Gustav Mahler's symphonies with Markus Stenz and the Gürzenich Orchestra plus the song cycle „Des Knaben Wunderhorn“ with Christiane Oelze (soprano) and Michael Volle (baritone). The cycle will be published as hybrid SACD. The first release of this cycle, Mahler's 5th Symphony, has been listed in the German Record Critics’ Award in November 2009 and was awarded “Recording of the Year” by the music magazine Rondo in 2010. The Fourth Symphony, the Wunderhorn songs, and the Second, Third, First and Eighth (“Symphony of a Thousand”) symphonies have now also been issued. The recording of Mahler’s 4th Symphony was editor’s choice in classic fM magazine in October 2010 and was awarded the “supersonic pizzicato” in the October issue of the magazine pizzicato as an outstanding referential recording.

In April 2013, Markus Stenz and the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne released a recording of Richard Strauss's popular tone poems “Till Eulenspiegel” and “Don Quixote” on the British label Hyperion Records with Lawrence Power (viola) and Alban Gerhardt (violoncello). The recording was already named “Disc of the Month” (May 2013) by the BBC Music Magazine.

Since October 2005 concerts of the Gürzenich Orchestra are recorded live on their own label “GO live!” and made available within 5 minutes of the end of the concert for purchase by members of the audience.  An edited version of the 3 subscription concerts is available for download from the iTunes Music Store.  Amongst the many works available are Beethoven’s Symphonies nos. 5 and 7, Mozart’s C Minor Mass, Mahler’s Symphonies nos. 6 and 7 and Bruckner’s Symphonies nos. 5 and 8. In January 2013, this worldwide unique project reached the milestone of 25,000 CDs sold.

(January 2014)

This biography is updated regularly. Before publication please consult about any changes or cuts.