Michael Gielen Short Biography
1927 Born in Dresden on 29 July
1940–1950 Family emigrates to Argentina. Tuition in piano and music theory, then studied music and philosophy; first compositions. Works as répetiteur at the Teatro Colón with Erich Kleiber
1950/51 Returns to Europe, to the Vienna State Opera; works as repetiteur and has first encounters with Karajan, Mitropoulos, Böhm and others
1952 First conducting appearance at the Vienna Konzerthaus; first recordings for American record labels
1954 First conducting appearance at the Vienna State Opera
1960–64 Principal Conductor at the Royal Opera, Stockholm
1964–1984 Collaboration with the Southern Radio Symphony Orchestra (which later became the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra); regular conductor for a while alongside Sergiu Celibidache
1965 World premiere of B. A. Zimmermann’s opera “Die Soldaten” in Cologne and world premiere of Ligeti’s “Requiem” at Swedish Radio, Stockholm
1966–1975 Regular collaboration with the Symphony Orchestra of Saarland Radio (which later became the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, then once more in 2008 with its successor organization, the German Radio Philharmonic)
1967 Start of regular collaboration with the Southwestern Radio Orchestra (which later became the Symphony Orchestra of Southwestern Radio). Before that, a record production for Vox around 1956/57 and a concert in 1961.
1968–1973 Principal Conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra
1973–1975/6 Principal Conductor at the Dutch Opera, Amsterdam
1977–1987 Head of Opera and General Music Director at the Frankfurt Opera
1978–1981 First Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, London
1980–1986 Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
1985 Hessian Culture Prize
1986 Theodor W. Adorno Prize of the City of Frankfurt
1986–1999 Principal Conductor of the SWF Symphony Orchestra, Baden-Baden (which later became the SWR Symphony Orchestra of Baden- Baden and Freiburg); regular Guest Conductor from 1999; Honorary Conductor since 2002; last appearance with the orchestra in January 2014
1987–1995 Professor of Conducting in Salzburg
From 1990 Principal Guest Conductor of the Berlin Symphony Orchestra (which later became the Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra); later only concerts with the Staatskapelle; last appearance in October 2012
From 1991 Music Director at the Berlin State Opera; later only concerts with the Staatskapelle; last appearance in October 2012
1996 Music Prize of the City of Vienna
1997 Grand Silver Order of Merit for services rendered to the Republic of Austria
1999 Frankfurt Music Prize
2005 Publication of the autobiography “Unbedingt Musik”
2007 Theatre prize “Der Faust” for lifetime achievement
2010 Music Prize of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation • Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany • Culture Medal of Upper Austria
2014 Michael Gielen ends his conducting activities for health reasons. Last conducting appearance with the NDR Symphony Orchestra in February 2014.
2019 Michael Gielen passes away on March 8th, at the age of 91.
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