Christian Thielemann

Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival and Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden

Artistic Director and conductor Christian Thielemann
Christian Thielemann © Matthias Creutziger

Former Musical Assistant to Herbert von Karajan

Born in Berlin, Christian Thielemann began his professional career in 1978 as a rehearsal pianist at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In 1980 he was a musical assistant to Herbert von Karajan for Parsifal at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Following engagements in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe and Hanover he joined Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Dusseldorf in 1985 as Kapellmeister. In 1988 he became Germany’s youngest music director in Nuremberg, before returning to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1997, holding the position of music director there until 2004. From 2004 to 2011 he held the same post at the Munich Philharmonic.

Since 2012 in Dresden at the Helm and Since 2013 in Salzburg

In 2012 Christian Thielemann became Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and since 2013 he has been the Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival. In addition to this focus, Christian Thielemann’s first two seasons as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden featured cycles of Brahms and Bruckner and tours to Asia, the USA and throughout Europe as well as numerous concerts and opera performances featuring works by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.

A Welcome Guest at International Opera Houses, Festivals and Orchestras

Christian Thielemann maintains close links with both the Berlin and Vienna philharmonics as well as with the Bayreuth Festival since his debut there in 2000 with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, returning year after year to thrill audiences with benchmark interpretations. After having been a musical advisor to the festival since 2010, he has been appointed its Musical Director in June 2015. He has also been a popular guest at the Salzburg Festival many times. For his conducting of Strauss’s Die Frau ohne Schatten at the 2011 festival he was named conductor of the year by Opernwelt magazine.

Comprehensive Discography

Christian Thielemann has a comprehensive catalogue of recordings. In addition to the New Year’s Eve Concerts from 2010 to 2014, he and the Staatskapelle Dresden have already recorded numerous symphonic works by Beethoven, Liszt, Brahms, Bruckner, Reger, Pfitzner and Busoni as well as Arabella, Elektra, Ariadneauf Naxos and Parsifal for CD and DVD. Their most recent releases include a complete cycle of Brahms’s symphonies. Together with the Vienna Philharmonic he has recorded all of Beethoven’s symphonies.

Honours and Awards

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 2015 he was awarded the Richard Wagner Prize by the Richard Wagner Foundation of Leipzig.