Manfred Honeck has firmly established himself as one of the world’s leading conductors, whose distinctive and revelatory interpretations receive great international acclaim. He is now in his 16th season as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where his contract was extended last year to run through the 2027-2028 season. Celebrated at home and abroad, he and the orchestra continue to serve as cultural ambassadors for the city of Pittsburgh. Guest appearances regularly include Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as the major venues of Europe and festivals such as the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn and Grafenegg Festival.
Honeck’s successful work in Pittsburgh is extensively documented by recordings on the Reference Recordings label, featuring works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Strauss, Tchaikovsky and others. They have received outstanding reviews and awards, including many Grammy nominations. He and the orchestra won the Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance in 2018. A recent release, Beethoven's Symphony No. 6, coupled with Stucky's Silent Spring, was an Editor’s Choice of Gramophone magazine.
Born in Austria, 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, and 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.
Honeck also has a strong profile as opera conductor. In his four seasons as general music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, he conducted premieres of operas by Berlioz, Mozart, Poulenc, Strauss, Verdi and Wagner. He has also appeared as guest at leading houses such as the Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen and the Salzburg Festival. In 2020, Beethoven’s anniversary year, he conducted a new staging of Fidelio (1806 version) at the Theater an der Wien. In autumn 2022, he made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, leading a revival of Mozart’s Idomeneo.
Beyond the podium, Honeck has designed a series of symphonic suites, including Janáček’s Jenůfa, Strauss’ Elektra and Dvořák’s Rusalka, all of which he recorded with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs around the globe. The most recent arrangement, of Strauss’ Salome, was premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in June 2023.
As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the leading international orchestras around the globe, including 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 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 more than 25 years.
Honeck holds honorary doctorates from several universities in the United States and was awarded the honorary title of professor by the Austrian Federal President. In 2018, the jury of the International Classical Music Awards declared him Artist of the Year.
Please note: Biographies are based on information provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on websites of the artists or their management.