Marek Janowski

Marek Janowski is artistic director and chief conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic. He is one of the great masters of the music of the German tradition. He is recognized throughout the world for his interpretation of Wagner, Strauss, Bruckner and Brahms, Hindemith and the Second Viennese School, and has an extensive and distinguished discography in this repertoire.

His Wagner opera cycle with the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra set a new standard of performance in concertante opera. The complete cycle was recorded live on Pentatone and released in 2016. BBC Music Magazine declared, "The real stars of this Ring are the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir, the conductor and the recording team ... this is the sound of a Ring for the 21st century." 

Janowski conducted a complete Wagner Ring Cycle in the Tokyo Spring Festival between 2014 and 2017. He returns in 2021 to conduct performances of Parsifal. He works with a chosen number of orchestras as guest conductor: Berlin Philharmonic, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival and Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Oslo Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Opera Nomori and in the United States, the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and National Symphony Orchestra, among others.

Born in Warsaw and educated in Germany, Janowski took an artistic path that led him from assistant positions in Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg to his appointment as general music director in Freiburg im Breisgau (1973-75) and Dortmund (1975-79). While in Dortmund, his reputation grew rapidly and he was invited to conduct in many of Europe’s leading opera houses. There is not one world-renowned opera house where he has not been a regular guest since the late 1970s, from the Metropolitan Opera to the Bavarian State Opera; from Chicago and San Francisco to Hamburg; from Vienna and Berlin to Paris.

Janowski stepped back from the opera scene in the 1990s to concentrate on the great German symphonic repertoire. He now enjoys an outstanding reputation among the premier orchestras of Europe and North America and is lauded for his ability to create orchestras of international standing.

His return to the Dresden Philharmonic (he held the position of chief conductor from 2001 to 2003) marks the city’s confidence since the opening of the new Kulturpalast Dresden. Between 1984 and 2000, as musical director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Janowski took the orchestra to a position of pre-eminence in France, as well as abroad. From 1986 to 1990, in addition to his position in Paris, Janowski held the title of chief conductor of the Gürzenich Orchester in Cologne and between 1997 and 1999, he was first guest conductor of the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin. From 2000 to 2005, Janowski served as music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo. From 2002 to 2016, he was artistic director of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Janowski’s distinguished discography, built over the past 30 years, includes the iconic recording of Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden (1980-83). It also includes several other complete operas and symphonic cycles, many of which have been awarded international prizes. His Bruckner cycle with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, recorded for Pentatone, also has been accorded high praise.

Of Bruckner Symphony No. 3, Resmusica wrote, “After the extraordinary mixed delirium of the first movement, the inspired Marek Janowski presents a second movement full of color. With a grand, magnificent string section, the conductor offers music of overwhelming emotion. What intensity, what beauty and what magnificent clarity in the continuity of the musical discourse.” 

Janowski’s most recent release with Pentatone is Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz, recorded alongside Lise Davidsen and Andreas Schager, as well as the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig.


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