Opera Scotland

Michael Gielen Suggest updates

Born Dresden, 20 July 1927

Died Mondsee, 8 March 2019.

German conductor and composer.

As a conductor Michael Gielen had a particularly strong reputation in 20th century works and also introduced many new pieces.

His family moved to Argentina in 1940 and he grew up there. He studied piano in Buenos Aires and joined the music staff at the Teatro Colón in 1947. From 1950 he was based in Vienna as a repetiteur and assistant conductor. From 1960-65 he was music director of the Royal Swedish Opera.

In 1965 at Cologne he conducted the premiere of Die Soldaten (Zimmermann).  From 1969-73 he was principal conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra. He became artistic director at the Frankfurt Opera House in 1977 and spent ten years building the company's reputation. In 1978 he brought them to Edinburgh, with a staging of Kátya Kabanová by the renowned film director Volker Schlöndorff.

He was also chief conductor of the orchestras at Cincinnati (1980-86) and Baden-Baden (1986-99).

Roles in Scotland

Kátya Kabanová 1978

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