Holender was born in Timişoara, Romania. His family is of Jewish ancestry, and growing up, he spoke three languages. His father owned a factory in Timișoara, which was expropriated in 1948. Holender studied mechanical engineering at the Polytechnic University of Timișoara. He worked as a tennis coach and a director's assistant until he and his family emigrated to Austria, where his mother was residing. He intended to continue his engineering studies, but became interested in singing. After completing his music studies, he was an operatic baritone and concert singer with the Klagenfurt Stadttheater.
In 1966, he began to work at the Starka theatrical agency, which he eventually took over and whose prestige he increased.
In 1988, Eberhard Waechter named Holender as Secretary-General of the Vienna State Opera, effective as of 1991. Eventually, Holender dissociated himself from the Starka business. After Waechter's death in February 1992, Holender became Director of the Vienna State Opera on 1 April 1992. He also led the Vienna Volksoper for 4 years simultaneously. Holender's contract was extended three times and concluded on 31 August 2010. He is the longest-serving general director in the history of the Vienna State Opera.
Ioan Holender is advisor of the Metropolitan Opera New York and the Spring Festival Tokyo and artistic director of the George Enescu Festival Bucharest. He is a lecturer at the University of Vienna and at the Danube University Krems. Further he is a jury member for several international singing-competitions. He also has his own cultural-magazine on the Austrian TV-channel ServusTV.
Holender and his wife have two sons and a daughter.
This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia. (June 2010)
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