Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008–09 season, a post he will retain until the end of the 2019–20 season following two extensions of his contract. Mr. Honeck has led the PSO on annual tours since 2010, performing in numerous European cities and music festivals, including Beethovenfest Bonn, Lucerne Festival, and the BBC Proms. The 2012 tour focused on a weeklong residency at the Vienna Musikverein, followed by the European Festival Tour in summer 2013.
Several of Mr. Honeck’s recordings with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra are available on Japanese record label Exton, including Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award. Mr. Honeck’s album of Strauss tone poems was released by Reference Recordings in fall 2013. Several subsequent recordings have been completed for future release by Reference.
Born in Austria, Manfred Honeck began his career as conductor of Vienna’s Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. He was subsequently engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he received the European Conductor’s Award in 1993. In 1996, he began a three-year stint as one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra in Leipzig and, in 1997 he served as Music Director at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for a year. A successful tour of Europe with the Oslo Philharmonic marked the beginning of a close collaboration with this orchestra, which consequently appointed him principal guest conductor. He was music director of Stockholm’s Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 2000–06, and principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008–11, a position he resumed for another three years at the beginning of the 2013–14 season.
As music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart from 2007–11 he conducted premieres of Berlioz’s Les Troyens, Mozart’s Idomeneo, Verdi’s Aida, Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites, and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Parsifal. As a guest conductor, Mr. Honeck has appeared with leading orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and Vienna Philharmonic. In the U.S. he has conducted the Chicago, National, and Boston Symphony Orchestras; Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.