Music Director of Prague State Opera and newly appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor at the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, German conductor Karl-Heinz Steffens is recognised as a conductor of great distinction in both the operatic and symphonic worlds.
Last season he took up his appointment at Prague State Opera, his first production there being Fidelio in the newly refurbished house; preparations for Szymanowski’s King Roger were under way when Covid-19 led to its cancellation. He also took the orchestra on tour to Spain with performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. During the present season he conducts productions of Tristan und Isolde and Schreker’s Der ferne Klang, amongst others, as well as launching a four-year series entitled Musica non Grata, dedicated to “unwelcome music” written by composers who fell victim to the despotism of the 20th-century totalitarian regimes.
This season he embarks upon his relationship with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, having been introduced to the ensemble in the context of a Brahms symphony cycle. Elsewhere in great demand as a guest conductor, recent seasons have seen him work with ensembles such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Zurich Tonhalle Orchestras and frequently with the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig and Stuttgart. This season he makes guest appearances with the Bergen Philharmonic, Bournemouth Symphony, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Israel Philharmonic, MDR Leipzig and Qatar Philharmonic orchestras amongst others. Last season he continued his relationship with the Philharmonia in London following his Brahms cycle with them and returned to the Orchestre National de Lyon and Mozarteumorchester Salzburg.
During his time as Music Director of the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, the orchestra was honoured with many accolades; they received the ECHO award for Best Orchestra in 2015 for their recording of works by B.A. Zimmermann and in 2016/17 were nominated prizewinners of the Best Concert Programme of the Season by the Deutsche Musikverlegerverband, the German Music Publishers’ Association. Their recording of works by George Antheil, an addition to the Modern Times series, was designated Concert Recording of the Year by the Opus Klassik awards.
In the opera house, Steffens has appeared several times at the Teatro alla Scala leading performances of Cosi fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, and Götterdämmerung, and is regularly invited to the Berlin Staatsoper Unter den Linden. While Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera, he led the Norwegian premiere of Pelléas et Mélisande where he has also conducted Così fan tutte, Fidelio and Calixto Bieito’s production of Tosca.
Prior to his conducting career, Steffens was a highly respected solo clarinettist who also held several orchestral positions culminating in the successive posts of Principal Clarinet with the Bavarian Radio and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. Steffens has recently been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz in Germany for his services to music.
Artist Website: www.karlheinzsteffens.com
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