Michael Andreas Gielen (born July 20, 1927) is an Austrian conductor and composer.
Life and career
Gielen was born in Dresden, Germany, to Rose and Josef Gielen, his father, an opera director. Through his mother, Rose, he is the nephew of Eduard Steuermann and Salka Steuermann Viertel. His father was Christian and his mother was Jewish. He began his career as a pianist in Buenos Aires, where he studied with Erwin Leuchter and gave an early performance of Arnold Schoenberg's complete piano works in 1949 (the South-American première). While serving as conductor and répétiteur at the Wiener Staatsoper (1950–60), he conducted much contemporary music outside the opera house. His next operatic appointment was as conductor of Royal Swedish Opera from 1960 to 1965, followed by posts at the Netherlands Opera and the Opern- und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt from 1977. He was principal conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra (1969–73), the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (1980–86) and of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra (1986–99), which he has been closely associated with since.
He has demonstrated a mastery of the most complex contemporary scores, and he has given many premières, including Helmut Lachenmann's Fassade and Klangschatten – mein Saitenspiel, György Ligeti's Requièm, Karlheinz Stockhausen's Carré and Bernd Alois Zimmermann's Die Soldaten. In 1973 he recorded Schoenberg's opera Moses und Aron with Günter Reich, Louis Devos, choir und orchestra of the Österreichischer Rundfunks, used as a soundtrack for the film Moses und Aron. In 1979 he revived Schreker's opera Die Gezeichneten at the Oper Frankfurt, where it had been premiered in 1918. During his time in Frankfurt, later called the Gielen Era, he collaborated with stage directors such as Hans Neuenfels for Verdi's Aida and Ruth Berghaus for Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.
He is also a noted conductor of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bruckner and Gustav Mahler. As a composer, he has elaborated on the tradition of the Second Viennese School and his small oeuvre includes settings of poems by Hans Arp, Paul Claudel, Stefan George, and Pablo Neruda.
In October 2014, Gielen announced his retirement from conducting for health reasons, particularly seriously deteriorated eyesight.
- 1986: Theodor W. Adorno Award
- 2010: Ernst von Siemens Music Prize
- Juni 2010: Großes Verdienstkreuz mit Stern der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
- Die Glocken sind auf falscher Spur after Hans Arp, premiere 1970, Joan Carroll, Siegfried Palm, Aloys Kontarsky, Wilhelm Bruck, Christoph Caskel, Michael Gielen, at the Saarländischer Rundfunk festival "Musik im 20.Jahrhundert"
- 1983 - 1985: string quartet Un vieux souvenir after Baudelaires's Les Fleurs du mal, premiere 1985, LaSalle Quartet, Cincinnati
- Peters, Rainer (2010). "The Ernst von Siemens Music Prize-Winner Michael Gielen". Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
- Rockwell, John (28 April 1987). "Opera: Wagner's 'Ring des Nibelungen' in Nigeria". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
- Michael Gielen at AllMusic
- Michael Gielen at The Living Composers Project
- Michael Gielen at bach-cantatas
- Michael Gielen: Unbedingt Musik. Erinnerungen. Insel, Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-458-17272-6.
- Michael Gielen, Paul Fiebig: Mahler im Gespräch. Die zehn Sinfonien. Metzler, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-476-01933-0.
- Literature by and about Michael Gielen in the German National Library catalogue
- Michael Gielen Music Information Center Austria
- Der Leuchtturm, Tagesspiegel, 19 July 2007
- Unbedingt Musik, Berliner Zeitung, 20 July 2007
- Anti-Schamane, Neue Musikzeitung, Nr. 7, 2007
- Ein Vermittler, ein Missionar, Die Zeit, 12 July 2007 Nr. 29
- Die Hoffnung wahren in der Zerrissenheit, SWR, 20 July 2007, also as audio (19 min)
-  Sad-news-top-conductor-retires/
-  Ehrendirigent des SWR-Sinfonieorchesters legt Taktstock aus gesundheitlichen Gründen nieder
|Music Director, Belgian National Orchestra
|Chief Conductor, Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra