Christoph von Dohnányi
Conductor

"Christoph von Dohnányi, for all his modest demeanour, knew exactly when to impose his authority on both soloist and orchestra alike, to powerful effect." (The Guardian)

Contacts

Jennifer Spencer +44 (0)20 3725 9131
Julia Boon +44 (0)20 3725 9115

Biography

Honorary Conductor for Life: Philharmonia Orchestra
Music Director Laureate: The Cleveland Orchestra

 

Celebrating his 85th birthday in September 2014, Christoph von Dohnányi begins this season with a series of European concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he has a long-standing relationship. Beginning in 1994 as the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Dohnanyi served as Principal Conductor for ten years from 1997, before being appointed Honorary Conductor for Life in 2008.

During the current season he has also been invited to conduct the Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala,

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Honorary Conductor for Life: Philharmonia Orchestra
Music Director Laureate: The Cleveland Orchestra

 

Celebrating his 85th birthday in September 2014, Christoph von Dohnányi begins this season with a series of European concerts with the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom he has a long-standing relationship. Beginning in 1994 as the Orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor, Dohnanyi served as Principal Conductor for ten years from 1997, before being appointed Honorary Conductor for Life in 2008.

During the current season he has also been invited to conduct the Orchestre de Paris, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Filarmonica della Scala, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. Dohnányi also returns regularly to the major orchestras in the US - Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Chicago - as well as to Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer festival in Massachusetts.

In 2013 the University of London presented him with the degree of Doctor of Music from the Royal Academy of Music.

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Contacts

Jennifer Spencer +44 (0)20 3725 9131
Julia Boon +44 (0)20 3725 9115

Reviews

"Dohnányi unerringly balanced turns of phrase with symphonic logic, solemnity with sear, forward-looking musical thinking with nostalgic illustration while all along teasing out much instrumentation that is often lost." (Colin Anderson, Classical Source, June 2014)

“Almost immediately, one was hooked on his constant shaping on multiple levels, on the way he maintained drive moment by moment while also preserving a cohesive, irresistible narrative. Admiration was also the only response to the free space and emotional weight he applied to lyrical phrases. In the Adagio, the trills as he rendered them cut like a knife. Meanwhile, he exerted impressive control over the ensemble, inciting the players to give him their

...

"Dohnányi unerringly balanced turns of phrase with symphonic logic, solemnity with sear, forward-looking musical thinking with nostalgic illustration while all along teasing out much instrumentation that is often lost." (Colin Anderson, Classical Source, June 2014)

“Almost immediately, one was hooked on his constant shaping on multiple levels, on the way he maintained drive moment by moment while also preserving a cohesive, irresistible narrative. Admiration was also the only response to the free space and emotional weight he applied to lyrical phrases. In the Adagio, the trills as he rendered them cut like a knife. Meanwhile, he exerted impressive control over the ensemble, inciting the players to give him their tightest, most refined best… Never was there a moment when he didn’t know just which element to accent, exactly when to begin or end a crescendo, or which instrument to place in the foreground.” (Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer, March 2014)

“Dohnányi drew playing of both sweeping grandeur and arresting detail from the ensemble he led with such distinction from 1984-2002… Conducting from memory, Dohnányi concentrated on the big narrative of the work, making supple transitions between sections and molding its nuances like someone who knows his way around a familiar and cherished landscape. The Presto ending of the last movement was as thrilling as the ending of the Scherzo was poetic.” (Daniel Hathaway, Cleveland Classical, March 2014)

“I cannot recall a finer recording of any music conducted by Dohnányi than this. His tempos are perfect for the music...which enable this great and original symphony [Bruckner 4] to unfold naturally, at its own unhurried pace, consistently relaxed yet powerful...such is Dohnányi’s impressive grasp of the vast structure of this work, a grasp to which the outstanding musicians of the Philharmonia instinctively responded.” (International Record Review, July 2012)

“In von Dohnányi's conducting – never remotely showy – it is the clarity of his approach and his inclination to underline the natural democracy of Brahms's orchestral writing that is absorbing. A restrained but highly atmospheric Mendelssohn's Hebrides overture was a pointer to this concern for capturing the timbre and finesse of the early Romantic colour palette, even in mature Brahms. It made the major-minor ambiguity of the symphony all the more carefully poised. The heroism sometimes perceived in this score was clearly less important to von Dohnányi than the integrity of the musical argument, right through to the warm conviction in the return of the opening theme in the final bars.” (The Guardian, October 2009)

Discography

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