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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 the most distinguished conductors of our day. He has been music director of the Cleveland Orchestra since 2002 and his contract currently runs until 2022.

The Cleveland Orchestra, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2018, has been acclaimed by the New York Times as deserving the title of “the best in America”, owing to its exceptional programming, including numerous premieres and innovative staged opera productions - in the coming season they will undertake Pelléas et Mélisande – which draw deeply on the artistic profile of the long-term cooperation with Welser-Möst.

In addition to their regular residencies in the USA and Europe, Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra have appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Suntory Hall in Tokyo, at the Salzburg Festival and at the Lucerne Festival.  Their European tour in 2016, with programmes spotlighting Thomas Ades and Richard Strauss, will bring them to the Lucerne, Salzburg and Grafenegg Festivals.

The Cleveland Orchestra has been hugely successful in building up a new and, above all, a young audience through its groundbreaking programmes involving students and by working closely with universities.

From 2010 to 2014 Franz Welser-Möst was general music director of the Vienna State Opera. In addition to cultivating the entire repertoire, he notably conducted 20th-century works such as Janáček’s Káťa Kabanová, From the House of the Dead and The Cunning Little Vixen, as well as Hindemith’s Cardillac. In Vienna and Cleveland he has focussed on the operas of Richard Strauss and conducted performances of Salome, Die Frau ohne Schatten, Der Rosenkavalier, Ariadne auf Naxos and Arabella.

Franz Welser-Möst appears regularly at the Salzburg Festival. After triumphant successes with Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier and Fidelio, he conducts a new production of Richard Strauss' Die Liebe der Danae in 2016, and having worked with the Berlin Philharmonic at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2009, he conducts the Staatskapelle Dresden there in 2017.

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 Scandinavia and Japan, and in the USA where in 2017 he will lead programmes of Schubertm Strauss and Bartok. This special relationship was recognized 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.

May 2016. 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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