Michael Schønwandt

Michael Schønwandt, born in Copenhagen, is Principal Conductor of the Opéra Orchestre National de Montpellier. He was Music Director of the Royal Orchestra and the Royal Opera in Copenhagen from 2000 – 2011 and has been associated with the company since 1979.  He was Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra from September 2010 – Aug 2013.  He has also held posts as Chief Conductor of the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, now the Konzerthausorchester, (1992-1998), Principal Guest Conductor of La Monnaie in Brussels (1984-87), Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (1987-2000), Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Flanders Philharmonic Orchestra, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Staatstheater Stuttgart.

As well as his close association with the Royal Opera in Copenhagen (where projects have included a new Ring Cycle in the newly opened opera house in 2006) Michael Schønwandt has conducted at leading opera houses around the world, including regular appearances with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, La Monnaie in Brussels, Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera, Nice Opera, the Stuttgart Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Cologne Opera and Die Meistersinger in Bayreuth.  His vast operatic repertoire has included Alceste, Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Idomeneo, Fidelio, Der Fliegende Holländer, Parsifal, Tannhäuser, Der Ring des Nibelungen, Lohengrin,Tristan & Isolde,  Macbeth, Simone Boccanegra, Otello, Wozzeck, Falstaff,Eugen Onegin, Queen of Spades, Turandot, The Trojans, Salome, Elektra, Rosenkavalier, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Jenufa, The Cunning Little Vixen, Katya Kabanova, Le Grand Macabre and Maskarade by Nielsen.

Michael Schønwandt has a very active concert career and has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra (including all the Beethoven piano concertos with Alfred Brendel),  Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Hamburg Philharmoniker , the Dresden Philharmonic, Staatsorchester Stuttgart,, L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in Geneva,  Budapest Festival Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice, Orchestre National de Lyon, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi in Milan, Helsinki Philharmonic, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Warsaw, the Royal Flanders Philharmonic, the Orchestre Symphonique de la Monnaie in Brussels and engagements in Bonn, Zurich, Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki, Graz, and Rome.

Michael Schønwandt has a special interest in Danish music.  He is regarded as one of the leading exponents of Carl Nielsen’s music and has recorded all his symphonies and concertos and the opera Maskarade and Saul and David.  He has also recorded the complete symphonies by Niels Gade and Weyse and his interest in contemporary music has led him to conduct many world premieres by Danish composers.   Other world premieres include the Third Violin Concerto by Henze with the Berliner Sinfonie-Orchester, and, most recently, György Kurtág´s  Concertante and Poul Ruders’ operas Dancer in the Dark and The Handmaid’s Tale for the Royal Opera in Copenhagen, released on CD to great critical acclaim.

Michael Schønwandt has made many notable recordings with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra for Chandos, including Strauss' Salome, released in 1999, and hailed by the Gramophone magazine as the best recording ever of the work.  The  DVD of the Copenhagen Ring has won many awards.

Recent and future engagements include Lulu, Wozzeck, Cosi fan tutte, and Ariadne auf Naxos at Opera National de Paris,  Elektra and Turandot at Opera de Montpellier, Wozzeck and Ariadne auf Naxos in Stuttgart, Falstaff at Covent Garden, La traviata for Wiener Staatsoper and Nielsen’s Saul and David for the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, and, in 2018/19, a new production of Peter Heise’s Drot og Marsk for the Royal Theatre Copenhagen, Simon Boccanegra for the Opera National de Montpellier and concerts including the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra and the Tonkünstler Orchester in Vienna’s Musikverein.


© Photo by Hans van der Woerd