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Musical World

Ingo Metzmacher

  • Conductor
  • Pianist


Besides his work with the DSO Ingo Metzmacher 09|10 schedule includes performances with the Maggio Musicale Orchestra in Florence, the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow, the Orchestre de Paris and the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.

Ingo Metzmacher will return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London to conduct performances of Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and to the Zurich Opera House for a new production of Schreker’s Der ferne Klang and the revival of his 2007 production of Humperdinck’s Königskinder. In October he gave his debut at the Vienna State Opera in a new production of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of Mzensk.

Hannover-born Ingo Metzmacher, the son of cellist Rudolf Metzmacher, studied piano, music theory and conducting in his home town, Salzburg and Cologne. He found his first artistic home at the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt, initially as a pianist and later as a conductor. During this period he also worked under Michael Gielen at the Frankfurt Opera House. He achieved his breakthrough in 1988 when he stepped in to conduct the premiere of Schreker’s opera Der ferne Klang in Brussels. This was followed by numerous invitations by leading European and American opera houses and orchestras.

In 1997 he was appointed General Music Director of the Hamburg Opera where he conducted a whole series of internationally acclaimed productions over a period of eight seasons. His collaboration with director Peter Konwitschny consistently produced particularly notable successes in this period, the most highly acclaimed productions being Lohengrin, Wozzeck, Freischütz, Don Carlos and Moses and Aaron. The leading German opera magazine Opernwelt voted the Hamburg opera house Opera House of the Year 2005. He then became Chief Conductor of the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam. Highlights of his tenure include performances of Henze’s The Bassarids directed by Peter Stein, Die tote Stadt and Die Gezeichneten with the Concertgebouw Orchestra, a cycle of the three Da Ponte operas by Mozart in productions of Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito and a Pierre Audi production of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise which was also shown in concert version at the BBC Proms in London.

Innovative programmes and a passionate commitment to the music of the 20th century have been Metzmacher’s trademark since the beginning of his career. Highlights include his production of Luigi Nono’s Al gran sole carico d’amore with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra at the Salzburg Festival 2009, a series of New Year’s Eve concerts in Hamburg from 1999 to 2004, entitled Who is afraid of 20th Century Music?, which were released on CD, a complete recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s symphonies for EMI with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, his residency as  Artiste Etoileat the Lucerne Festival, where his performances included Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Requiem für einen jungen Dichter, the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze’s 9th Symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and his appearances with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in their prestigious subscription concerts where he performed Messiaen’s  Illuminations of the Beyond… and at the Mozartwoche in Salzburg.

Over the last years Ingo Metzmacher has appeared as a pianist in recitals with Christine Schäfer, Matthias Goerne and Christian Gerhaher at the Aspen Music Festival, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg as well as at the Salzburg Festival.

In his book Vorhang auf! Oper entdecken und erleben, published in German by rowohlt in the autumn of 2009, Ingo Metzmacher presents operas from four centuries and explains the making of a music theatre production. He is also the author of Keine Angst vor neuen Tönen, published in 2005, a passionate plea for pioneering composers such as Luigi Nono, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schönberg, Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage.

His latest CD release Heliopolis on the harmonia mundi france label features him as pianist and artistic partner of Matthias Goerne in a selection of Schubert songs. New recordings of Von deutscher Seele by Hans Pfitzner with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Eclairs sur l’Au-Delà… by Olivier Messiaen with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra were released on the Phoenix Edition and Kairos CD labels in 2008. Future releases include more recordings with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester for Phoenix Edition. Pierre Audi’s production of Saint François d’Assise by Olivier Messiaen for the Holland Festival 2008 conducted by Ingo Metzmacher has been released earlier this year on DVD by the Opus Arte label.