Home > Artists > Christoph von Dohnányi


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


Christoph von Dohnányi became Honorary Conductor for life of the Philharmonia Orchestra, having served as their Chief Conductor since 1997. Christoph von Dohnányi served as the sixth Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra from 1984 and was named Music Director Laureate in 2002. European guest engagements include the Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Orchestre de Paris, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In North America he conducts the Boston and Chicago Symphony orchestras and the New York Philharmonic.

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"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)