Stefan Sanderling

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Stefan Sanderling (born 1964 in East Berlin, East Germany)[1] is an orchestral conductor. He is the son of the conductor Kurt Sanderling and the double-bass player Barbara Sanderling.[2] His half-brother is the conductor Thomas Sanderling. His brother Michael Sanderling is a cellist and conductor.

In his youth, Sanderling played the piano and clarinet. His early university experience was in Halle, Germany. At the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, Sanderling studied with the conductors Leonard Slatkin, Yuri Temirkanov, Edo de Waart and John Nelson. He later attended the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and studied with Daniel Lewis. He also studied with Kurt Masur at the Leipzig conservatory.

Sanderling's first professional position was in Potsdam, Germany. In addition, he has been the Music Director of the Staatstheater and the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz (Philharmonic Orchestra). In 1996, he became chief conductor of the Orchestre de Bretagne and served in this capacity until the end of the 2003-2004 season.

In the US, Sanderling was appointed the Music Director of the Florida Orchestra in May 2002,[3] and he officially assumed this position in the 2003-2004 season. In June 2006, Sanderling extended his contract with the Florida Orchestra through the 2010-2011 season.[4] His contract had been further extended through the 2013-2014 season, at which point he was scheduled to conclude his Florida Orchestra tenure.[5] There were reports of conflict between Sanderling and the orchestra management as factors in his departure.[6] However, in June 2012, the orchestra announced the early conclusion of Sanderling's Florida Orchestra tenure after the 2011-2012 season, at which he is to take the titles of conductor emeritus and artistic adviser to the orchestra.[7]

In the US, Sanderling has also held the posts of principal guest conductor of the Toledo Symphony Orchestra since 2003, and principal conductor of that ensemble since 2004. Sanderling became music director of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra at the start of the 2008 summer season, a post he held until 2011.

Sanderling is married to the cellist Isabelle Besançon, who formerly played in the Orchestre de Bretagne, where they met. They were married in November 2002. On 31 December 2002, there was an incident at the Raymond James Stadium where the couple was supposed to meet the Tampa businessman David Harbert at an American football game, as guests. A security guard stopped Besançon from entering the stadium because of her oversized purse, a consequence of heightened security concerns after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The incident escalated because a security guard was reported to have stated that he "couldn't risk letting the couple inside because they were foreigners". The matter resolved in a letter of apology from Barbara Casey, director of communications for the Tampa Sports Authority, to Sanderling.[8]


  1. ^ John Fleming (2003-09-21). "Tearing down the walls". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  2. ^ John Fleming (2005-03-04). "Sanderling to conduct his family". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  3. ^ John Fleming (2002-07-19). "Seeking a home in key of charm". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  4. ^ Vivien Schweitzer (2006-06-08). "Stefan Sanderling Extends Contract with Florida Orchestra". Playbill Arts. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 
  5. ^ John Fleming (2011-05-27). "Stefan Sanderling won't be renewing his contract with the Florida Orchestra". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  6. ^ John Fleming (2011-11-06). "A farewell tour". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  7. ^ John Fleming (2012-07-02). "Florida Orchestra's Stefan Sanderling stepping down early as music director". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2012-07-08. 
  8. ^ John Fleming (2003-01-01). "Maestro's football outing hits sour note". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11. 

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Claude Schnitzler
Principal Conductor, Orchestre de Bretagne
Succeeded by
Olari Elts (artistic advisor)
Preceded by
Jahja Ling
Music Director, Florida Orchestra
Succeeded by
(post vacant)
Preceded by
Andrew Massey (music director)
Principal Conductor, Toledo Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Uri Segal
Music Director, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by
(post vacant)