Conductor | North American Representation, Public Relations
2018-2019 Biography

Markus Stenz, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Conductor-in-Residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, is known for performances of great expressive scope, from Rameau to Berio, probing interpretations of German repertoire, and an audacious command of contemporary music.  His previous appointments have included General Music Director of the City of Cologne and Gürzenich-Kapellmeister, Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra, Music Director of the Montepulciano Festival, Principal Conductor of the London Sinfonietta—one of the most renowned ensembles of contemporary music—and Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

During the 2018-2019 season, Stenz leads the much-anticipated world premiere of Fin de Partie by György Kurtág at La Scala in November, broadcast live on RAI-Radio 3.  The one-act opera, with a libretto based on the Samuel Beckett play, End Game, represents the 92-year-old Hungarian composer’s first opera.  Staged by Pierre Audi, the co-production with the Netherlands Opera receives its Dutch premiere in March 2019, which Maestro Stenz also leads.  At Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Tivoli-Vredenburg concert hall in Utrecht, he conducts the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in concerts that range from Debussy’s La Mer, to Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, and Walton’s First Symphony, alongside works by Elgar and Julian Anderson.  Other notable programs contrast Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony, with Schoenberg’s Erwartung with soprano Asmik Grigorian; Kurtág’s Petite musique solennelle, En homage à Pierre Boulez 90, Bartók’s Viola Concerto with soloist Tabea Zimmermann; and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.  A highlight of Stenz’s spring season is a concert performance with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra of Schreker’s alluring, large-scale opera Die Gezeichneten (The Branded) at the Concertgebouw.

At the Seoul Philharmonic, where Maestro Stenz is conductor-in-residence, he is joined by the virtuoso Andreas Ottensamer, [principal clarinetist of the Berlin Philharmonic] for Lutosławski’s Dance Preludes and Stamitz’s Clarinet Concerto No. 7 in E-flat major, in a program that includes Strauss’s Till Eulenspiegel and Ravel’s Boléro.  He concludes the season in Korea with performances of two of the early twentieth century’s most evocative tone poems, Rachmaninoff’s The Isle of the Dead and Scriabin’s Le Poème de l’extase. As principal guest conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Stenz welcomes Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, for performances of Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 47, and works by Haydn and Wagner.  Virtuoso Paul Huang joins Stenz and the Baltimore Symphony for the rarely played Violin Concerto by Khachaturian.  Also this season, Maestro Stenz returns to the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to lead the Australian premiere of Chinese composer Qigang Chen’s Violin Concerto, performed by Maxim Vengerov, alongside Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

Markus Stenz’s international guest engagements in 2018-2019 include the Orchestra della Toscana, Stavanger Symfoniorkester in Norway, Dortmund Philharmonic, and China National Center for the Performing Arts.  He also leads the Antwerp Symphony in performances of Ives’s The Unanswered Question and Mahler’s Symphony No. 10 at the new Queen Elisabeth Hall in Belgium.  In North America, he is guest conductor with the Pittsburgh, Oregon, and Nashville Symphonies.

Highlights of Maestro Stenz’s previous season demonstrate his vital range of programming in performances around the world.  He conducted the German premiere of Detlev’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch with the Symphoniker Hamburg during the inaugural season at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie.  He led the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in performances of Strauss’s Elektra, Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, and contemporary works by Dutch composers Mayke Nas, Joey Roukens, and Rob Zuidam.  Stenz also conducted performances in the major concert halls of Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Brazil, Japan, and Korea.  He appeared as guest conductor throughout the United States, leading the symphony orchestras of St. Louis, Colorado, Utah, and San Diego, and the Minnesota Orchestra.  As principal guest conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, he led concerts ranging from Beethoven and Mahler to Liszt and Wagner. Festival engagements included the Grand Teton Music Festival with violinist Leila Josefowicz, and the Grant Park Music Festival with violinist Paul Huang. 

Since his debut as an opera conductor at La Fenice in Venice, Markus Stenz has led many world premieres, including three operas by Hans Werner Henze:  Das Verratene Meer at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Venus und Adonis at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, and L’Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe at the 2003 Salzburg Festival.  Stenz has appeared at many of the world’s major opera houses and international festivals, Teatro alla Scala, La Monnaie, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Edinburgh International Festival, the Bregenz Festival, where he conducted the world premiere of Solaris by Detlev Glanert in July 2012, and the Salzburg Festival.  As former General Music Director of the City of Cologne, he led performances of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersigner von Nürnberg, and Parsifal, as well as Janačék’s Jenufa and Kát’a Kabanová.

He has conducted orchestras around the world including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra, Berlin Phiharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra, and the symphony orchestras of the Bayerische Rundfunk, Hessischer Rundfunk, WDR, and NDR.  In the United States, Stenz has led the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Houston, Seattle, and St. Louis, Boston, Dallas, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Stenz’s extensive discography includes many award-winning recordings, among them the complete symphonies of Mahler with the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne on the Oehms Classics label; the CD of the Fifth Symphony was selected for the Quarterly Critics’ Choice by the German Record Critics’ Award Association.  Recent notable recordings include Glanert’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch, with the Royal Concergebouw Orchestra, an album of Henze orchestral works, James MacMillan’s St. Luke Passion, and K.A. Hartmann’s Simplicius Simplicissimus with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.  Stenz has made more than 60 recordings with the Gürzenich Orchestra, with repertoire that includes Haydn, Chausson, Thomas Adès, and Schoenberg’s Gurrelieder (recipient of the 2016 Gramophone Classical Music Award for best choral album) among many others.  He has also recorded with the world’s major 20th-century and contemporary chamber orchestras, including the Ensemble Modern and London Sinfonietta, which he led as artistic director. 

Markus Stenz has been accorded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Northern College of Music and the Silberne Stimmgabel (“Silver Tuning Fork”) by the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.  He resides in Cologne, Germany with his wife and two children.

“Stenz makes the orchestra play beyond itself, and future appearances should not be missed.” - The Washington Post  

“Stenz exuded endless energy from the podium. Even in moments of lyrical reflection, he kept a sense of tension going, so that the music seemed capable of sprinting off again at any moment.” - The Baltimore Sun  

“Markus Stenz is a master of the German repertoire, as demonstrated from the first notes of Wagner’s “Parsifal,” played with beauty and clarity, through the triumphant final notes of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. He led without a baton, using his expressive hands to communicate to the furthest corners of the stage. The large and diverse audience responded enthusiastically throughout.” - St. Louis Post-Dispatch    


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