Johannes Debus has been Music Director of the Canadian Opera Company (COC) since 2009, having been appointed immediately following his debut. He graduated from the Hamburg Conservatoire before being engaged as répétiteur and, subsequently, Kapellmeister by Frankfurt Opera where he acquired an extensive repertoire from Mozart to Thomas Adès and worked closely with such conductors as Paolo Carignani, Markus Stenz and Sebastian Weigle. He recently returned to Frankfurt to conduct The Adventures of Mr. Broucek and Rusalka.
In 2015-16 he debuted with the Houston and San Diego symphonies and Komische Oper Berlin (Le nozze di Figaro) and returned to Frankfurt Opera (The Cunning Little Vixen), the Blossom Festival with The Cleveland Orchestra and to the Aspen Summer Music Festival (Béatrice et Bénédict). With COC, he conducted the world première of Canadian Barbara Monk Feldman’s Pyramus and Thisbe, Wagner’s Siegfried and Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro.
In 2016-17 Mr. Debus returns to the San Diego Symphony and debuts with the Metropolitan Opera (conducting Salome) and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
At home in both contemporary music and the core repertoire, he has conducted a wide range of world premières and works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, notably Salvatore Sciarrino's Macbeth and Luciano Berio's Un re in ascolto. He has collaborated with internationally-acclaimed ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien and Musikfabrik.
He conducts regularly at the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, Staatsoper unter den Linden Berlin and Frankfurt Opera and has appeared in new productions at English National Opera and Opéra National de Lyon. Other guest conducting engagements include the Nashville, New Jersey and Montreal symphonies and the National Arts Centre orchestra in Ottawa. He made his debut at the BBC Proms with Britten’s Sinfonia in September 2014, and he conducted a new production of The Tales of Hoffmann at the 2015 Bregenz Festival.
As a guest conductor, he has appeared at several international festivals such as the Biennale di Venezia, Bregenz and Schwetzingen Festivals, Festival d'Automne in Paris, Lincoln Center Festival, Ruhrtriennale, Suntory Summer Festival and Spoleto Festival. Mr. Debus enjoys an ongoing relationship with the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.
In 2008 Mr. Debus conducted Prokofiev’s War and Peace for Canadian Opera Company. Such was his success with the piece and rapport with the company that he was immediately offered the Music Directorship.
In 2010 Johannes Debus was invited to replace James Levine in a performance of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail at Tanglewood with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and he was subsequently invited to replace Sir Colin Davis in works by Mozart and Haydn in four subscription concerts, marking his Symphony Hall debut. He made his debut with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Blossom Music Festival in the summer of 2012 and with the Toronto Symphony and the Philharmonia in London in 2013.