Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. Consistently recognized for their performances, he and the orchestra are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad and regularly perform in major European music capitals, as well as at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and leading festivals such as BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn and Grafenegg Festival. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra also have built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna.
Honeck's successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings released by the Reference and Exton labels. Following two earlier Grammy nominations for the ensemble, Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 won the Grammy for best orchestral performance in January 2018.
Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the viola section in the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and as artistic leader of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo, where he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera on short notice for a year and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for several years. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm, and from 2008 to 2011 and again from 2013 to 2016, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres of Berlioz's Les Troyens, Mozart's Idomeneo, Verdi's Aida, Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner's Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as numerous symphonic concerts. His operatic guest appearances include 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. Moreover, he has been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than 20 years.
As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the world’s leading 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. Orchestras that he has conducted in the United States include New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. He is also a regular guest conductor at the Verbier Festival.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from several North American universities. Most recently, he 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.