Portrait Manfred Honeck

Manfred Honeck

© Felix Broede
General Management

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 in his 16th season as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where his contract runs 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 include Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, as well as the major venues of Europe and leading festivals such as the BBC Proms, Salzburg Festival, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, and Grafenegg Festival. 

Manfred Honeck's successful work in Pittsburgh is being extensively documented by recordings on the Reference Recordings label, featuring works by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Shostakovich, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and others. They have received a multitude of outstanding reviews and awards, including many GRAMMY® nominations, and he and the orchestra won the GRAMMY® for "Best Orchestral Performance" in 2018. The most recent recording, Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 and Schulhoff's Five Pieces, was released in 2023 to great critical acclaim.

Born in Austria, Manfred 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. In November 2023, he was appointed Honorary Conductor by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, following decades of close collaboration. 

Manfred 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 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 much-acclaimed debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, leading a revival of Mozart’s Idomeneo. Beyond the podium, Manfred Honeck has designed a series of symphonic suites, including Janáček’s Jenůfa, Strauss’s Elektra, Dvořák’s Rusalka as well as Puccini's Turandot which he regularly performs around the globe. The most recent arrangement, of Strauss’s Salome, was premiered by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in June 2023.

As a guest conductor, Manfred Honeck has worked with all leading international orchestras, 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 US 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 almost thirty years.

In 2023-2024, in Pittsburgh Manfred Honeck conducts ten wide-ranging programmes and several special projects, including all four of the season’s world premieres and commissions. He also returns to the Chicago Symphony and New York Philharmonic, amongst others, and places a special focus on the music of Bruckner for this composer’s anniversary in 2024. 

Manfred 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".

27. July 2024 - 13:30

Sapporo, Sapporo Art Park Outdoor Stage

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 22 Es-Dur KV 482
Gustav Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5 cis-moll

Info & Tickets

28. July 2024 - 16:30

Sapporo, Sapporo Concert Hall Kitara

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 22 Es-Dur KV 482
Gustav Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5 cis-moll

Info & Tickets

30. July 2024 - 19:00

Tokyo, Suntory Hall

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Konzert für Klavier und Orchester Nr. 22 Es-Dur KV 482
Gustav Mahler: Symphonie Nr. 5 cis-moll

Info & Tickets

  • Yet this new account is of another stature, as if Honeck’s earlier interpretation were a first draft, and this the finished masterpiece — and make no mistake, it is a masterpiece, a dark psychological thriller that soars and scars and ends up being rather unnerving. Drawing on Tchaikovsky’s sketches and personal biography, Honeck writes in the album’s booklet that the work is in some respects a portrayal of depression. But he offers neither a cold, clinical analysis of the score nor the complacent, simplistic narrative of triumph over disaster that so many of his colleagues are content to find in it. Securing orchestral playing of unrelenting intensity and utmost exactitude, Honeck instead gives the symphony all the harrowing drama — the dread, the instability, the vertiginous sense of being on the edge — of a mental breakdown. It is not easy to listen to at times, and there is scant resolution at the close. But this Fifth, one of the greatest ever recorded, does make one conclusion inescapable, though it is more of a confirmation by now: There has not been a conductor like Honeck in a long time.
    New York Times
    David Allen: Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 5; Schulhoff, Five Pieces, in: New York Times, 31. August 2023
  • Der letzte Abend der Salzburger Festspiele wird zum Triumph für Manfred Honeck und das Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra ... In der langsamen Einleigung von Mahlers Erster könnte man eine Stecknadel fallen hören. Man merkt Honeck die Leidenschaft für diese Musik an, mit der er den Kopfsatz bis ins letzte Details modelliert ... Dynamische Kontaste werden zugespitzt, die Rubati lustvoll ausgekostet. ... Ebenso detailgenau wie in der Mahler-Interpretation führt Honeck sein Orchester auch durch Ligetis "Lontano", das sich in der dynamischen Feinarbeit zu einem faszinierend schillernden Klanggebilde formt.
    Salzburger Nachrichten
    Florian Oberhummer, Salzburger Nachrichten, 01.09.2022
  • In Mahler’s first symphony, Pittsburgh showed that it can be at least Viennese as it is American. Honeck, conducting without a score, shows more interest in Mahler’s black, biting humour than he does in anything numinous. His Mahler, attentive to the score’s many tempo indications, has both velvet delicacy and sledge-hammer violence. It is spectacular without being cultish; Honeck revels in the score’s sardonic moments, but also lets us glimpse vulnerability between the bar-lines. ... Together, they can find depth and nuance in a score, and explore the acoustic vagaries of the world’s leading concert halls.
    Shirley Apthorp, slippedisc.com, 25.08.2022
  • Honeck, ein österreichischer Gentleman mit einem Orchester in Pittsburgh, wirft sich in das Werk ohne jede Zurückhaltung, glättet nach einigen Minuten die Wogen, liefert mit den Philharmonikern einen ungeheuer klaren Bruckner ab, geht mit der alpenländischen Star-Wars-Musik des Schlusssatzes an die Grenzen der Akustik, erschafft im Adagio eine Schönheit, in der man verloren gehen möchte.
    Süddeutsche Zeitung
    Egbert Tholl, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 19.03.2022
  • • „Of course the performance of the concerts’s three works, led with great elan and specificity by guest conductor Manfred Honeck […] was superb. […] A complex, dreamy ache marked the start of the third movement with its superbly subtle musical shadings overseen by Honeck and all sections of the orchestra before a sense of frantic nervousness spread through the music. […] Stunning, from start to finish.”

Lothar Schacke

Lothar Schacke

Director, General Management
+49 89 44488790
Eva Oswalt

Eva Oswalt

Head of Artist Operations
+49 89 44488796

  HIGHLIGHTS 2023/2024