Markus Stenz has held a number of high-profile positions with international orchestras and opera houses including Principal Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (2012-2019), Principal Guest of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2015-2019) and Conductor-In-Residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (2016-Dec 2020). He was General Music Director of the City of Cologne and Gürzenich-Kapellmeister for 11 years (from 2003-2014), Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra (2010-2014), Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1998-2004), Principal Conductor of London Sinfonietta (1994–1998) and Artistic Director of the Montepulciano Festival (1989–1995).
Stenz made his opera debut in 1988 at La Fenice in Venice in the first performance of Henze’s revised version of Elegy for Young Lovers. Since then he has appeared at many of the world’s major opera houses and international festivals including Teatro alla Scala Milan, La Monnaie in Brussels, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and Edinburgh International Festival. His notable performances in Cologne have included Wagner’s Ring, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as Janacek’s Jenufa and Katya Kabanova, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Eötvös’s Love and other Demons.
Stenz has conducted many world premières including Henze’s Das Verratene Meer for Deutsche Oper Berlin, Venus und Adonis for Bavarian State Opera, L’Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe at the Salzburg Festival, Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico and Detlev Glanert’s Caligula for Frankfurt Opera and Solaris at the Bregenz Festival. He recently returned to Bayerische Staatsoper Munich for Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten and in the 18/19 season conducted the long awaited world première of Kurtag’s Fin de Partie at La Scala, Milan, and Dutch National Opera.
Guest engagements have led him to the major orchestras worldwide, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, NHK, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, London Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Symphony and the Symphony Orchestras of the Hessische Rundfunk, and NDR. In the United States these have included the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnatti, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, St Louis Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra and recently his debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Highlights of the 2019-20 Season included debuts with Orchestre National de Lyon, Bergen Philharmonic, and Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, recordings with the Stavanger Symphony and Konzerthaus Orchestra Berlin and a production of Death in Venice at the Deutche Oper Berlin. Markus also returned to China with the Hangzhou Philharmonic and undertook a tour of Russia with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Future highlights for this season and beyond, include the Valenica Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia, his debut with the Taiwan Philharmonic Orchestra and Luxembourg Philharmonic and a return to the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In addition he returns to the Munich Bayerische Staatsoper for Beethoven’s Fidelio and will be returning with the Orchestre National de Lyon and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. Other engagements include appearances with the Dresdener Philharmonie, Dortmunder Philharmoniker and the MDR-Sinfonieorchester, the latter as part of the 2021 Mahler Festival hosted by the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
During his time with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln Stenz received a prize for “The Best Concert Programme of the 2003/04 Season” as well as initiating a number of youth and educational projects such as “Experiment Klassik”, “3. Akt” and the concert live-recording project “GO live”.
Stenz’s extensive discography includes many prize-winning recordings including the Gürzenich Orchestra’s complete cycle of Gustav Mahler’s symphonies for Oehms Classics. Their recording of Mahler’s 5th Symphony received a German Record Critics’ Award in November 2009. Their first recording for Hyperion of Strauss’ Don Quixote and Till Eulenspiegel received unanimous critical acclaim, and was followed by an equally celebrated recording of Schönberg’s Gurrelieder released in 2015, which received the Choral Award at the 2016 Gramophone Awards.
Markus Stenz studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne under Volker Wangenheim and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music and the “Silberne Stimmgabel” (Silver Tuning Fork) of the state of North Rhein/Westphalia.