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One of today’s most celebrated conductors, Franz Welser-Möst has held the position of Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra, one of the world’s great cultural institutions, since 2001. In 2014 his contract, already encompassing the orchestra’s centennial year in 2018, was further extended until 2022, making him the second-longest tenured Music Director in the orchestra’s history.


Franz Welser-Möst is one of today’s most distinguished conductors. He has been music director of the Cleveland Orchestra since 2002 with his tenure currently contracted until 2022.
The Cleveland Orchestra, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018, has reached new heights under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst. The New York Times recently declared that the Cleveland Orchestra could claim to be the ‘best American orchestra’ due to its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of colour and chamber-like musical cohesion. The Cleveland Orchestra has been repeatedly praised for its innovative programming and numerous world premieres, and for its recent success in semistaged and staged opera productions, including 2014’s critically-acclaimed performances of Janacek’s Cunning Little Vixen with a revelatory computer animated stage design. In addition to their regular residencies in the USA and Europe, Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra are frequent guests at numerous prestigious concert halls and festivals including the Salzburg Festival and the Lucerne Festival. The Cleveland Orchestra has been hugely successful in building up a new and, notably, a young audience through its groundbreaking programmes involving students and by working closely with universities.

Franz Welser-Möst was Music Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1990-96 and of the Zurich Opera from 1995-2008. From 2010 to 2014 he held the position of general music director of the Vienna State Opera, one of the most important repertoire houses. In addition to cultivating the traditional German, Italian and Slavonic repertoire, including a significant spotlight on the works of Janacek, Welser-Möst placed a strong focus on 20th- century works and the operas of Richard Strauss. He has an annual presence on the operatic stage at the Salzburg Festival.  After triumphant successes with Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier and his 72nd opera premiere Fidelio - winning huge acclaim for his “brilliant conducting” (FAZ) he leads a new production of Die Liebe der Danae in 2016.

As a guest conductor Franz Welser-Möst has developed a particularly close and productive relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic. He has twice appeared on the podium at the New Year’s Concert and conducts the orchestra regularly in subscription concerts at the Musikverein, as well as in Lucerne, at the BBC Proms and on tour in the USA, Scandinavia and Japan. His close association with the Vienna Philharmonic was honoured in spring 2014 when he was presented with the orchestra’s Ring of Honour.

Franz Welser-Möst has received many other honours and awards, while his numerous CDs and DVDs have been awarded many international prizes - the Salzburg Festival production of Der Rosenkavalier was recently awarded with the Echo Klassik 2015.

Upcoming engagements include concerts with Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Filarmonica della Scala of Milan, and the 2015 Nobel Prize concert in Stockholm.

September 2015. No previously dated versions are authorised for publication. This biography must not be edited in any way without prior permission from IMG Artists.

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"Welser-Möst and the Cleveland players, joined at the hip, … offered playing divinely precise, exquisitely refined."

The Arts Desk

"A truly exceptional evening with the Bavarian State Orchestra and its marvellous musicians who responded in an all-consuming way to the precise and careful indications of this Maestro, moved just as much by the spirit as by the nuances and subtleness of the Straussian language. […] The way in which the Austrian Maestro conducted was a pure miracle - with an indescribable touch and with perfect knowledge of this Straussian music he passed mysterious movements to the orchestra, which responded like a giant chamber orchestra."

Süddeutsche Zeitung

"“Mr. Welser-Möst and his wondrous orchestra refuse to let the music’s churning textures ever settle into sluggishness, […] a musical performance of impeccable quality and wide textural range, from the rustle of strings tapped with the wood of bows at the beginning to the horn fanfares that open the final scene with unassuming flawlessness. Mr. Welser-Möst treats the score — as he did Strauss’s “Salome” with this orchestra in 2012 — with a lithe flexibility that gives climaxes a fearsomely contrasting grandeur and weight.”"

New York Times

"Dynamics, controlled impatience, intimate poetry: all there. Cheers and Jubilee for Welser-Möst. | Vienna State Opera 'Ring Cycle'"

Der Standard

"This was one of the most beautiful New Year's Concerts since Karajan and Kleiber. Franz Welser-Möst knows how the music of the Strauss-dynasty, the music of Lanner and Hellmesberger has to sound."


"The Cleveland Orchestra’s triumphant performance of Richard Strauss’s Salome […] The great interlude… was stunning, not just for the virtuosity with which the orchestra dealt with its turbulent pile-up of leitmotifs, but also for the way that the eerily quiet passage for contrabassoon held the audience rapt. [Franz Welser-Möst] ensured that there was ample excitement to go around, while letting the music unfold with structural logic and maximizing opportunities for sumptuous playing."

Musical America

"What the [Vienna] Philharmonic Orchestra under the confident conductorship Franz Welser-Moests deliver is breathtaking.... it is especially exhilarating in its musical swing and the expressive directness."

Die Presse

"And in fact, [the Bolero] sounded fabulous—with those weapons that Welser-Möst handles so scrupulously: precision, rhythmic control, a certain highly effective minimalism. All that, plus the assurance of having an orchestra like the Cleveland at his command: compact, secure, even luminous. The artistic results are overwhelmingly effective. It is the art of perfection, pure and simple."

El Pais

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