Manfred Honeck

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Manfred Honeck in 2013

Manfred Honeck (born 17 September 1958, in Nenzing) is an Austrian conductor and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008/2009 season.[1][2] In 2018, he was named Artist of the Year by the International Classical Music Awards.[3] On January 28, 2018, Honeck and the PSO were awarded the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance for their recording of Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 and Barber Adagio for Strings. The recording won a second Grammy for Best Engineered Album (Mark Donahue, engineer).[4]

Early life[edit]

Beginning as a violinist, Honeck received his musical training at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and later played the viola.[5] He subsequently played in the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera Orchestra. His early work as a conductor included a period as assistant to Claudio Abbado with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (Youth Orchestra). In 1987, Honeck founded the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra.[6]


1991 - 1999[edit]

Following his work with the Mahler Jugendorchester, Honeck conducted regularly at the Zurich Opera House from 1991 to 1996.[7] In 1993, while conducting at the Zurich Opera House, he was awarded the European Conductor's Award. From 1997 to 1998, he was Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo, and held a regular position from 1996 to 1999 with the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig. In 1998, he was named the Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic.

2000 - 2006[edit]

From 2000 to 2006, Honeck was Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. Honeck was Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra from 2008 to 2011 and then again from 2013 to 2016. He has also been the Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for over 20 years.[8]

2006 to present[edit]

Honeck became the General Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart in the 2007–2008 season,[9] with an initial contract for four years.[10] [5] During his tenure in Stuttgart, Honeck conducted productions of Berlioz's Les Troyens, Mozart's Idomeneo, Verdi's Aida, Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner's Lohengrin and Parsifal, among other works.[11] Honeck formally concluded his tenure with the Staatsoper Stuttgart in 2011.[12][13]

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra[edit]

In May 2006, in the US, Honeck made an acclaimed appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO).[14] In November 2006, he returned to Pittsburgh to conduct the PSO in another concert that received strongly positive reviews.[15]

2007 - 2017[edit]

On 24 January 2007, the PSO named Honeck its ninth music director,[16] effective with the 2008–2009 season for an initial contract of 3 years.[17][18] In September 2009, the PSO announced the extension of Honeck's contract to the 2015–2016 season.[19] In February 2012, the PSO announced the further extension of Honeck's contract through the 2019–2020 season.[20]

2017 - present[edit]

Honeck celebrated his tenth season as Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the 2017/2018 season. Honeck and the PSO frequently perform on tour in major music capitals and festivals, including the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. In 2012, Honeck and the PSO performed a week-long residency at the Musikverein in Vienna, returning for three further performances during the orchestra's Summer 2016 tour. In the Summer 2017, Honeck and the PSO toured Europe again, performing at festivals such as the BBC Proms, Lucerne Festival, and the Salzburg Festival. Honeck's work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Exton and Reference labels. Honeck and the PSO have recorded four acclaimed SACDs for Reference Recordings, of Strauss tone poems, Dvorak's Eighth Symphony and Janacek's Jenufa Suite, Bruckner's Fourth Symphony, and Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh symphonies. Honeck and the PSO's recordings of Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 and Dvorak's Eighth Symphony and Janacek's Jenufa Suite were nominated for Grammy Awards in Best Orchestral Performance in 2015 and 2014, respectively.[21] In September 2018, the PSO announced the further extension of Honeck's contract through the 2021–2022 season.[22]

Guest Conducting[edit]

In Europe, Honeck has appeared as a guest conductor with the Bamberg Symphony, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Vienna Philharmonic, and is a regular guest of the Verbier Festival in Verbier, Switzerland. In the United States, he has conducted The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic.


Honeck was awarded the honorary title of Professor by the Austrian Federal President in 2016.[11] He holds three Honorary Doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, Catholic University of America, and Saint Vincent College.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Manfred Honeck was born in Nenzing, Austria, near the border with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, one of nine children of Otto and Frieda Honeck.[1][2] One of his brothers is the Vienna Philharmonic concertmaster Rainer Honeck. Honeck lives in the village of Altach, Vorarlberg, Austria with his wife Christiane and their six children.[24]

Selected discography[edit]

With Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra[edit]

  • Bruckner: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Reference (2019)
  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, Op. 55 "Eroica" - Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1, Op. 11 (Live), Reference (2018)
  • Shostakovich/Barber, Symphony No. 5/Adagio for Strings, Reference (2017)
  • Tchaikovsky & Dvorak, Symphony No. 6 and Rusalka Fantasy, Reference (2016)
  • Strauss, Elektra & Der Rosenkavalier Suites, Reference (2016)
  • Bruckner, Symphony No. 4, Reference (2015)
  • Beethoven, Symphonies No. 5 and 7, Reference (2015)
  • Dvořák, Symphony No. 8 and Janáček, Jenufa Suite, Reference (2014)
  • Richard Strauss, Don Juan, Death and Transfiguration, Till Eulenspiegel, Reference (2013)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 5 in C-Sharp Minor, Exton (2012)
  • Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 5, Exton (2011)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 3, Exton (2011)
  • Richard Strauss, Ein Heldenleben, Exton (2010)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 4, Exton (2010)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 1, Exton (2009)

Various Orchestras[edit]

  • Beethoven, Suppé, R. Strauss, et. al., Frühling in Wien, Wiener Symphoniker (own label), (2017)
  • Works by Johann Strauss II and his brothers, Wiener Symphoniker (own label), 2014
  • Dvořák, Violin Concerto in A-minor with Anne-Sophie Mutter, Berliner Philharmoniker, Deutsche Grammophon (2013)
  • Braunfels: Große Messe, op. 37, Staatsorchester, Staatsopernchor und Collegium Iuvenum Stuttgart, S. Schneider, G. Romberger, M. Klink, Decca (2010)
  • Britten, Violin Concerto, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, F.P. Zimmermann - Sony (2009)
  • Mozart, Così fan tutte (Salzburg Festival), Wiener Symphoniker, Martinez, Koch, Mathey, Degout, Donath, Aleen - Decca (2006)
  • Allan Pettersson, Symphony no. 12, Swedish Radio Choir, cpo (2006)
  • Braunfels: Jeanne d'Arc, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Banse, Missenhardt, Stenswold, Decca (2001)
  • Mahler, Symphony No. 1, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBCMM-93 (2000)
  • Mozart, Requiem, Swedish Radio Symphony and Choir, Querstand (2001)
  • Mozart, Wagner, Strauss, et. al., Matthias Goerne: German Opera Arias, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Exton (2000)


  1. ^ a b Jürgen Schenkenbach (2006-01-13). "Höhenflug im Motzartjahr" (PDF). Vorarlberg Week (in German). Archived from the original (.PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  2. ^ a b Andrew Druckenbrod (2007-04-08). "An illuminating visit with the new PSO conductor, at home in western Austria". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  3. ^ "The Winners of the International Classical Music Awards – ICMA 2018". Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  4. ^ "Pittsburgh Symphony And Manfred Honeck Win TWO 2018 GRAMMY Awards | Reference Recordings". Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  5. ^ "Manfred Honeck". April 20, 2016. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  6. ^ "Pittsburgh Symphony's Manfred Honeck arrives with a sound approach". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  7. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2006-11-25). "No pressure: PSO guest conductor has patience both on and off the podium". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  8. ^ International Concerts Wolfegg "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2015-06-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Mark Kanny (2006-12-17). "Symphony must use right criteria for leadership decisions". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2007-08-07.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Ben Mattison (2005-11-29). "Conductor Manfred Honeck to Lead Stuttgart Opera". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-09-01.
  11. ^ a b "Manfred Honeck". Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  12. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2009-11-17). "Manfred Honeck to leave Stuttgart Opera". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-12-25.
  13. ^ Jürgen Kanold (2011-07-09). "Honecks Stuttgarter Klangkultur". Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  14. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2006-05-13). "Honeck makes strong debut with PSO". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  15. ^ Andrew Druckebrod (2006-11-25). "PSO conductor brings New World of sound". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
  16. ^ "Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Announces New Music Director Manfred Honeck" (PDF) (Press release). Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. 2007-01-24. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  17. ^ Daniel J. Wakin (2007-01-24). "In Pittsburgh, a Music Director to Replace Three Conductors". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-08-07.
  18. ^ Mark Kanny (2007-01-27). "Honeck's selection will profit the symphony". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2007-08-07.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2009-09-10). "Honeck to remain Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conductor until 2015". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  20. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2012-02-13). "Honeck agrees to contract extension with PSO". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2012-02-18.
  21. ^ "Manfred Honeck". November 26, 2019. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  22. ^ "PSO extends Manfred Honeck's contract, elects new board chair". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  23. ^ "San Francisco Symphony - Honeck, Manfred". Retrieved 2019-12-15.
  24. ^ Andrew Druckenbrod (2007-01-25). "City opens arms to PSO's new music director from Austria". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-08-07.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Evgeny Svetlanov
Principal Conductor, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Daniel Harding
Preceded by
Lothar Zagrosek
Generalmusikdirektor, Staatsoper Stuttgart
Succeeded by
(post vacant)