Meet The Performers

Visiting Artist

Christian Thielemann


Born in Berlin, Christian Thielemann comes from a family of music-lovers. He began his professional career in 1978 as a rehearsal pianist at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin. Following positions in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe and Hanover he joined the conducting staff of the Rhine Opera in Dusseldorf in 1985. Three years later he moved to Nuremberg to become Germany’s youngest music director, before returning to the Deutsche Oper in Berlin in 1997, holding the position of music director there for seven years. Thielemann conducted the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra from 2004 to 2011. In the summer of 2012 he took up the baton as Principal Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden.

Christian Thielemann’s repertoire is extensive, ranging from Bach to Henze and Gubaidulina. His interpretations of German romantic music, both in opera and on the concert stage, are regarded around the world as exemplary. Since his Bayreuth debut in the summer of 2000 (»Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg«), his annual appearances have set new standards in conducting. He has been musical advisor to the Bayreuth Festival since 2010. At the Salzburg Festival of 2011 Thielemann directed a new, highly acclaimed production of »Die Frau ohne Schatten« by Richard Strauss. 

His lengthy discography with Deutsche Grammophon encompasses numerous symphonic works and operas. Together with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra he has recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies, released both on CD and DVD. To date his recordings with the Staatskapelle include Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, Beethoven’s »Missa solemnis«, the ZDF New Year’s Eve Concerts of 2010 and 2011, »Faust« compositions by Wagner and Liszt, as well as Brahms’s First Piano Concerto performed by Maurizio Pollini. 

Beginning in 2013 Christian Thielemann will assume the position of Artistic Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival, while the Staatskapelle Dresden will become the festival orchestra. 

Made an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London in 2011, he has also been awarded honorary doctorates by the Franz Liszt College of Music in Weimar and the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium).


Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.