Manfred Honeck has firmly established himself as one of the world’s leading conductors, whose unmistakable, distinctive and revelatory interpretations are receiving great international acclaim. For more than a decade, he has been Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In the 2020-21 season, he will celebrate the 125th anniversary season of the Orchestra, which is marked by special concerts, programming and partnerships to commemorate the occasion. Manfred Honeck and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad. Guest appearances regularly include Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as the major European music cities and festivals such as the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn and Grafenegg Festival. The close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna continued with a residency in autumn 2019 as part of the orchestra’s most recent European Cities Tour, which took them to 10 cities in five countries.
His successful work in Pittsburgh is extensively documented by ten recordings on the Reference Recordings label. All SACDs featuring works by Strauss, Beethoven, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky and others have received a multitude of outstanding reviews and awards, including a number of Grammy nominations. The recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Barber’s Adagio won the Grammy for “Best Orchestral Performance” in 2018. The following year, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 garnered three Grammy nominations. A recording of Tchaikovsky No. 4 paired with the world premiere of Jonathan Leshnoff’s Double Concerto for Clarinet and Bassoon was released in May of 2020.
Born in Austria, Manfred Honeck completed his musical training at the University of Music in Vienna. His many years of experience as a member of the viola section in the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra have had a lasting influence on his work as a conductor. His art of interpretation is based on his determination to venture deep beneath the surface of the music. He began his conducting career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and as director of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was awarded the European Conducting Prize in 1993. He has since served as one of three principal conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig, as Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera, Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, and Chief Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm.
From 2007 to 2011, Manfred Honeck was Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart. There he conducted, among others, premieres of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal. Guest performances in opera led him to Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival. In Beethoven’s anniversary year of 2020, he conducted a new staging of Fidelio (1806 version) at the Theater an der Wien. Beyond the podium, Manfred Honeck has designed a series of symphonic suites, including Janáček’s Jenůfa, Strauss’s Elektra and Dvořák’s Rusalka. He recorded all of these arrangements with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs them with orchestras around the globe.
As a guest conductor, Manfred Honeck has been at the podium of all leading international orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. In the United States, he has conducted all major US orchestras, including New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He has also been Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for twenty-five years. Manfred Honeck has been honoured by several universities in the United States as an honorary doctorate and also was awarded the honorary title of Professor by the Austrian Federal President. The jury of the International Classical Music Awards selected him as “Artist of the Year” 2018.