Manfred Honeck, now one of the world’s leading conductors, has been a frequent guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker since his debut in February 2013: “It feels like you’re in a Rolls Royce!” The Austrian began his musical career as a violist with the orchestra of Wiener Staatsoper before playing for many years in the ranks of the Vienna Philharmonic.
While still an orchestral musician, Honeck took conducting lessons, founded the Wiener Jeunesse Orchester, which he conducted himself, served as Claudio Abbado’s assistant for the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester and stepped in as conductor of the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester at the Musikverein in 1988. In 1991, he became First Kapellmeister at the Opernhaus Zürich, where he received the European Conducting Award two years later. Honeck subsequently worked with the MDR Sinfonieorchester in Leipzig as well as in Oslo, where he not only took over the musical direction of the Norwegian National Opera for a year at short notice, but was also engaged as principal guest conductor of the Philharmonic Orchestra there for several years after an extraordinarily successful European tour. Manfred Honeck was head of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic and general music director of Staatsoper Stuttgart. During his extensive concert career, he has conducted leading international orchestras, including the Vienna Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Since 2008, he has been music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, whose international profile the conductor has been able to significantly develop, including through notable European tours.