Markus Stenz, Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012, Principal Guest Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2015 and recent appointee as Conductor-in-Residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, is known for his vibrant, masterful musical interpretations with a special passion for German orchestral works. His previous positions 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 for contemporary music – and Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Stenz’s expansive, multi-continental 2017-18 season reflects the breadth of his artistry and international regard as an inspirational collaborator. Across North America, Mr. Stenz serves as guest conductor of the St. Louis, Colorado, Utah and San Diego Symphonies, and the Minnesota Orchestra, with a fresh programming mix of the classical canon and lesser-known repertoire. Returning in his role as Principal Guest Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Stenz gives three performances in the fall of sprawling Germanic works by Mendelsohn, Bruch and Wagner as a part of the BSO’s “Wagner’s Quest” series; in the spring, he leads brilliant, lively programs of orchestral works by Beethoven, Korngold, Liszt, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Schumann and Wagner. Overseas, Maestro Stenz leads powerful programs at the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1: Titan, Strauss’ Elektra, Wagner’s Der Meistersinger and Tristan und Isolde excerpts, with newer works by Pascal Dusapin, Mayke Nas, Joey Roukens and Rob Zuidam, among others. Mr. Stenz’s extensive international schedule includes guest engagements at major halls in Brazil, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands and in Seoul, where Mr. Stenz’s appearance as Conductor-in-Residence includes performances of Schreker, Berg (with soprano Sumi Hwang) and Mahler. In Hamburg’s state-of-the-art Elbphilharmonie with the Symphoniker Hamburg, Mr. Stenz conducts the German premiere of Detlev Glanert’s Requiem for Hieronymus Bosch. A champion of newer and lesser-known vocal and operatic works, Maestro Stenz leads the Symphoniker Hamburg in Franz Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten at the National Theater in Munich in Spring, and in Fall 2018, he conducts the world premiere of György Kurtág’s Fin de Partie at La Scala in co-production with the Dutch National Opera.
Highlights of Maestro Stenz’s previous season with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra included a concert performance of El Niño by John Adams and varied programs of music by Mussorgsky, Raaff, Diepenbrock, Szymanowski and Zuidam, in addition to Busoni (arranged John Adams), Lizst, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Wagner, Schumann and others. North American engagements included the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with pianists Gabriela Montero and Juho Pohjonen, and guest conducting appearances with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra with Grammy® Award-winning violinist Augustin Hadelich, and at the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s May Festival. Internationally, Maestro Stenz’s touring schedule took him across several continents, conducting the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg and the Bern Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester and Leeds, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra on a tour throughout Japan performing Beethoven Symphony No. 9. Markus Stenz’s international engagements have led him all over the world, from São Paulo to Seoul. He has conducted several premieres, including the German premiere of a Cello Concerto by Pascal Dusapin with the cellist Alisa Weilerstein, as well as an orchestral work by Dieter Ammann with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zurich in June 2016.
Since his debut as an opera conductor at La Fenice in Venice, he has conducted many world premieres and first performances including Henze’s Das Verratene Meer in Berlin, Venus und Adonis at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and L’Upupa at the 2003 Salzburg Festival. Markus Stenz has appeared at many of the world’s major opera houses and international festivals including La Scala in Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, English National Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Edinburgh International Festival, the Bregenz Festival (with the world premiere of Solaris by Detlev Glanert in July 2012) and Salzburg Festival.
Other notable opera performances in Cologne have included Wagner’s Ring, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and Parsifal, as well as Janacek’s Jenufa and Katya Kabanova.
Markus Stenz has conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Berlin Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Symphony, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, and the Symphony Orchestras of the Bayerische Rundfunk, HR, WDR and NDR. In the United States he has led the Chicago, Houston, Seattle and St. Louis Symphonies, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Boston and Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
His comprehensive discography includes many award-winning recordings. His complete symphonies of Gustav Mahler with the Gürzenich Orchestra (Oehms Classics), for instance, was given an enthusiastic international reception, and was selected among the “Quarterly Critic’s Choice” issued by the German Record Critics’ Award Association with the recording of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5. Recent releases include the world premiere of James MacMillan’s St. Luke Passion and the Dutch premiere of K. A. Hartmnann’s Simplicius Simplicissimus (Challenge Classics) with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest as well as various Schönberg recordings with the Gürzenich-Orchestra Cologne, which earned the 2016 Gramophone Classical Music Award for best choral album.
Markus Stenz has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Royal Northern College of Music and the “Silberne Stimmgabel” (Silver Tuning Fork) by the state of North Rhein/Westphalia. He resides in Cologne, Germany with his wife and two children.