Manfred Honeck has firmly established himself as one of the world’s leading conductors, whose unmistakable, distinctive and revelatory interpretations receive great international acclaim. He is currently in his 14th season as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In September 2021, the orchestra announced a six-year extension of his contract, which will now run through the 2027-2028 season. Celebrated both at home and abroad, Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, one of the most frequently toured North American orchestras, 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.
Manfred Honeck’s successful work in Pittsburgh is extensively documented by recordings on the Reference Recordings label. All SACDs, these recordings feature works by Strauss, Beethoven, Bruckner, Tchaikovsky and others, and have received a multitude of outstanding reviews and awards, including a number of GRAMMY® nominations. The recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 and Barber’s Adagio won the GRAMMY® for “Best Orchestral Performance” in 2018. Following Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, released in celebration of the orchestra’s 125th anniversary season earlier this year, Brahms’s Symphony No 4 and MacMillan’s Larghetto will be available in October 2021.
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. 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.
From 2007 to 2011, Manfred Honeck was Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, where he conducted premieres of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal. Guest performances in opera led him to Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival. In Beethoven’s anniversary year of 2020, he conducted a new staging of Fidelio (1806 version) at the Theater an der Wien. Beyond the podium, Manfred Honeck has designed a series of symphonic suites, including Janáček’s Jenůfa, Strauss’s Elektra and Dvořák’s Rusalka. He recorded all of these arrangements with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs them around the globe.
As a guest conductor, Manfred 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 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 more than twenty-five years.
Manfred Honeck holds honorary doctorates from several universities in the United States and also 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”.