Teodor Currentzis

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Teodor Currentzis
Currentzis at the Perm Opera, 2016
Born (1972-02-24) 24 February 1972 (age 52)
Athens, Greece
  • Conductor
  • composer
  • actor
  • recording artist
StyleClassical music

Teodor Currentzis (Greek: Θεόδωρος Κουρεντζής Greek: [θɛˈɔðɔrɔs kurɛnˈʣis]; born 24 February 1972) is a Greek conductor, musician and actor.


Currentzis was born in Athens, and at the age of four began to take piano lessons. At age seven, he began violin lessons. He entered the National Conservatory, Athens at the age of twelve, in the violin department. In 1987, aged fifteen he began composition studies under Professor George Hadjinikos, and then in 1989 under Professor B. Shreck. From 1994 to 1999, Currentzis studied conducting supported by a scholarship from the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation in the St. Petersburg State Conservatory with Ilya Musin.[1]

From 2004 to 2010, Currentzis served as principal conductor of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre, where in 2004 he founded the Orchestra MusicAeterna and later the Chorus MusicAeterna.[citation needed] In 2009, Currentzis acted in Ilya Khrzhanovsky's film Dau (Russian: Дау) based on the biography of the physicist Lev Landau.[citation needed] In February 2011, Currentzis became music director of the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre, to which he brought both of his MusicAeterna groups.[2]

In 2011, Currentzis became principal guest conductor of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra. Effective with the 2018–2019 season Currentzis became the first chief conductor of the SWR Symphonieorchester (created by the merger of the Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra).[3] In September 2021, the SWR announced a 3-year extension to Currentzis' contract.[4] In September 2022, the SWR announced that Currentzis was to stand down as chief conductor of the SWR Symphonieorchester at the close of the 2024–2025 season.[5] The contract was not renewed upon his own request, and not for political reasons "as some had speculated or hoped".[6]

In February 2024 Wiener Festwochen cancelled a performance by Currentzis due to concerns raised by Ukrainian conductor Oksana Lyniv, who was also scheduled to perform at the festival, around Currentzis's links to Russia – namely VTB Bank sponsoring a Currentzis lead Russian ensemble, and the Russian citizenship awarded to Currentzis by Vladimir Putin.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Currentzis has the image of a punk "messiah and rebel," wearing lace-up boots, skinny jeans and a T-shirt on stage. He has been labeled eccentric for conducting from within the orchestra, leaving his stand. However, as of 2022 he has chosen to take on more traditional dress, appearing in black suits with white cuffed shirts, elegant evening shoes and a neat haircut.[6]

Currentzis never distinguished himself as a Putin sympathizer, even before the Ukrainian War, unlike his colleague Valeri Gergiev, and he is much less involved in state structures than Gergiev.[6][clarification needed] Nevertheless, on 2 January 2024, he played the song “Moscow Evenings” at the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia during one of Russia's largest missile attacks on Ukraine.[8]


Currentzis has won the National Theatre Award Golden Mask nine times:

  • 2007: Special Awards of the Musical Theatre Jury for Prokofiev's Cinderella.
  • 2008: Special Award of the Musical Theatre Jury For Impressive Achievements in Musical Authenticity in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro.
  • 2011: Best Conductor of an opera for Berg's Wozzeck at the Bolshoi Theater.[9]
  • 2013: Best Conductor of an opera for Mozart's Così fan tutte
  • 2013: Best Conductor of a ballet for Prokofiev's Chout
  • 2015: Best Conductor of an opera for Purcell's The Indian Queen
  • 2017: Best Conductor of an opera for Verdi's La Traviata
  • 2018: Best Conductor of a ballet for Prokofiev's Cinderella
  • 2018: Special Awards of the Musical Theatre Jury for Cantos, Aleksey Syumak's opera



Recordings are with Sony Classical unless otherwise noted:


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Theodor Currentzis about his teacher". Musin Ilya. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Teodor Currentzis to Head Perm Opera and Ballet Theater". russkiymir.ru. 27 December 2010. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Teodor Currentzis wird Chefdirigent des SWR Symphonieorchesters". SWR Classic. 5 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Teodor Currentzis bleibt weitere drei Jahre Chefdirigent des SWR Symphonieorchesters". SWR2. 15 September 2021. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  5. ^ "François-Xavier Roth wird Chefdirigent des SWR Symphonieorchesters ab 2025" (Press release). SWR. 30 September 2022. Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Thaler, Lotte (22 November 2022). "Umstrittener Dirigent: Es geht nicht um Putin, es geht um Kunst". FAZ.NET (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
  7. ^ Hernández, Javier C (13 February 2024). "Performance by Maestro With Russian Ties Is Canceled in Vienna". NYTimes. Retrieved 14 February 2024.
  8. ^ "While Putin bombs Ukraine, Currentzis conducts Midnight in Moscow". slippedisc.com. Norman Lebrecht. Retrieved 2 January 2024.
  9. ^ "Foreigners Scoop Awards at Golden Mask Awards" The Moscow Times, 18 April 2011
  10. ^ Susan Moore (20 June 2014). "Nosferatu, Perm Opera Ballet Theatre, Russia – review". Financial Times. Retrieved 6 April 2017.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by
Alexey Liudmilin
Principal Conductor, Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre
Succeeded by
Ainars Rubikis
Preceded by
Georgy Isaakyan
Music Director, Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre
Succeeded by
Artyom Abashev
Preceded by
(no predecessor)
Chief Conductor, SWR Symphonieorchester
Succeeded by