Christoph von Dohnányi is recognized as one of the world’s most distinguished conductors. He started his career as assistant to George Solti in Frankfurt, and later held chief posts in Frankfurt, Cologne, Hamburg, and Paris. He was principal conductor and artistic adviser of the Philharmonia Orchestra in London, where he is honorary conductor for life. He was the sixth music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1984–2002), and during his tenure led the Orchestra on tours to Asia and Europe, founded the Cleveland Youth Orchestra, oversaw the extension and renovation of Severance Hall, and initiated a new commissioning project. In 2002 he was named the first music director laureate of The Cleveland Orchestra. Since then Dohnányi has been a regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Los Angeles Philharmonic. In Europe he continues to appear regularly with the orchestras in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, London, Milan, and Israel.
Mr. Dohnányi has conducted at the world’s great opera houses, including in Berlin and Paris, and the Teatro alla Scala, Vienna Staatsoper, Opernhaus Zurich, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. In the United States he has conducted at The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. His London / Decca opera recordings with Vienna include Beethoven’s Fidelio, Berg’s Wozzeck and Lulu, Richard Strauss’s Salome, and Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, as well as orchestral works by Schubert, Strauss, Dvořák, and Tchaikovsky, and the complete Mendelssohn symphonies. His Decca recordings with Cleveland include works ranging from Bruckner, Mahler, and Strauss to Ives, Varèse, and John Adams. A compilation of the complete Beethoven symphonies was recorded in Cleveland by Telarc, and a collection of the complete Brahms symphonies was released by Teldec.
Christoph von Dohnányi was born in Berlin in 1929 and studied at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik and at Florida State University with his grandfather, pianist and composer Ernst von Dohnányi. He completed his studies in the U.S. by attending a conducting class at Tanglewood in 1952. He has received honorary doctorates from the Eastman School of Music, Oberlin College of Music, and Cleveland Institute of Music; an honorary doctorate in humane letters from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion; and the Anti-Defamation League’s Torch of Freedom Award. He is the recipient of Frankfurt’s Goethe Plaque, Hungary’s Bartók medal, and is a member of France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.