Ingo Metzmacher is the son of the cellist Rudolf Metzmacher and the research biologist Lore Schoen. His musical education in piano, music theory and conducting was in Hanover, Salzburg and Cologne. He later joined the Ensemble Modern in 1980 as its pianist and became the orchestra's conductor in 1985. In 1987 he gave his opera debut at the Opera Frankfurt.
Between 1995 and 1999 he was principal guest conductor of the Bamberg Symphony and from 1997 to 2005 he served as general music director of the City of Hamburg, which covered the Hamburg State Opera and its Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2005 the Hamburg State Opera was voted Opera House of the Year by the leading German opera magazine, Opernwelt. Metzmacher left his post in Hamburg after disputes with the city over funding.
In 2005 he became chief conductor of De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam. In February 2007 the opera announced that Metzmacher would step down from his post as DNO's chief conductor in 2008. From 2007 to 2010 he was the chief conductor and artistic director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO-Berlin). His original contract with the DSO-Berlin was through 2011. However, after reports of disputes over financing and a threatened reduction in the size of the orchestra, in March 2009 Metzmacher announced his early resignation from the DSO-Berlin principal conductorship as of the summer of 2010.  His final concerts as the orchestra's principal conductor were in June 2010 in Berlin and in August 2010 at the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.
Ingo Metzmacher is regularly conducting at leading opera houses, including Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Zurich Opera House, La Scala, Teatro Real, Vienna State Opera, Berlin State Opera, Paris Opera and Geneva Opera.
He has led orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Russian National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and New Japan Philharmonic.
- Dmitri Shostakovitch: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (with Angela Denoke, Misha Didyk, Kurt Rydl, Marian Talaba, Nadia Krasteva, Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera; Orfeo, 2011)
- Franz Schubert: Heliopolis (Matthias Goerne, bariton; Ingo Metzmacher, piano; harmonia mundi, 2009)
- Olivier Messiaen: Éclairs Sur L'Au-Delà... (with Vienna Philharmonic; Kairos, 2008)
- Alban Berg: Wozzeck (with Bo Skovhus, Angela Denoke, Frode Olsen, Chris Merritt, Jan Blinkhof, Jürgen Sacher, Choir of the Hamburg State Opera, Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg; EMI Classics, 1999)
- Hans Werner Henze: Symphony No. 9 (with Berlin Philharmonic; EMI Classics, 1998)
- Luigi Nono: Prometeo. Tragedia Dell'Ascolto (with Ingrid Ade-Jesemann, Monika Bair-Ivenz, Peter Hall, Solistenchor Freiburg, Ensemble Modern; Ricordi/EMI Classics, 1995)
- Hans Werner Henze: Requiem (with Ueli Wiget, Håkan Hardenberger, Ensemble Modern; Sony Classical, 1994)
- Conlon Nancarrow: Studies (with Ensemble Modern; BMG, 1993)
- Charles Ives: A Portrait (with Ensemble Modern; EMI, 1992)
- Complete symphonies of Karl Amadeus Hartmann, recorded with the Bamberg Symphony between 1993 and 1997. 
- Keine Angst vor neuen Tönen. Eine Reise in die Welt der Musik (2005), Rowohlt, ISBN 3-87134-478-8
- Vorhang auf! Oper entdecken und erleben (2009), Rowohlt, ISBN 978-3-87134-576-0
Awards and honors
- 1996: ECHO Klassik, Symphonic Recording 20th/21st Century Music (with Sarah Leonard, Cornelia Kallisch, Thomas Randle, Udo Samel, Männerchor and Bamberg Symphony)
- 1996: Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for Luigi Nono’s Prometeo (with Ingrid Ade-Jesemann, Monika Bair-Ivenz, Peter Hall, Solistenchor Freiburg and Ensemble Modern)
- 1998: ECHO Klassik, Conductor of the Year
- 1998: Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for the complete recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's symphonies (with the Bamberg Symphony)
- 1998: ECHO Klassik, Conductor of the Year
- 1998: Opernwelt, Conductor of the Year
- 1999: Niedersachsenpreis for Culture
- 2000: ECHO Klassik, Symphonic Recording (with Philharmonic State Orchestra Hamburg)
- 2009: Praetorius Music Prize awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of Lower Saxony
- 2010: Opernwelt, Conductor of the Year
- Tim Ashley (8 December 2000). "Thoroughly modern maestro". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- Tim Ashley (21 November 2003). "Going out with a bang". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- "Artist Profile: Ingo Metzmacher". Opus 3 Artists. Retrieved 2012-06-28.
- Manuel Brug (2009-03-26). "Dirigent Ingo Metzmacher hört beim DSO auf". Die Welt. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Manuel Brug (2009-05-04). "'Es tut mir leid – für Orchester und Publikum'". Die Welt. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Matthias Nöther (2010-06-16). "Ein Vorbild im Zweifeln: Ingo Metzmacher gibt sein Abschiedskonzert beim DSO". Berliner Zeitung. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Tim Ashley (2010-08-11). "DSO Berlin/Metzmacher (Royal Albert Hall, London)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
- Andrew Clements (19 May 2000). "The other Amadeus". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
- Guy Rickards (2000). "Record reviews ("Karl Amadeus Hartmann: Symphony No.1, 'Essay towards a Requiem'" and other issues in series)". Tempo (New Ser.), 211, pp. 43, 45.
|Music Director, Hamburg State Opera
Edo de Waart
|Chief Conductor, De Nederlandse Opera
|Principal Conductor, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin