Michael Sanderling


Chief Conductor – Lucerne Symphony Orchestra (from 2021)


Michael Sanderling held the position of Principal Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic for eight seasons (2011-2019). During his tenure with the orchestra, Michael Sanderling recorded the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven and Dmitri Shostakovich for Sony Classical. Of the pairing of Beethoven’s third symphony with Shostakovich’s tenth, MusicWeb International wrote “Characteristically stylish and entirely compelling under Michael Sanderling, the Dresdner Philharmonie demonstrates its prowess in these Beethoven and Shostakovich masterworks.” 

Michael Sanderling  is in high demand as a guest conductor and highlights of 2018/19 and 2019/20 include Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Louis Andriessen’s Mysteriën and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3), Orchestre de Paris (with whom he conducts Frank Martin’s Six Monologues of Jedermann with Matthias Goerne and Liszt’s Dante Symphony), Berlin Philharmonic (Haydn’s Cello Concerto No. 2 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7), Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra,  Prague Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester (both at home and on tour to Korea), St Petersburg Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, NDR Elbphilharmonie, and Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. He also appears regularly with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Munich Philharmonic, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra, and the German Radio Symphony Orchestras of WDR and SWR.

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Recent News


“Michael Sanderling clearly understands the cinematic disposition of the music that swings from the frivolous to a near constant state of unsettling anxiety that develops to fever pitch. Powerfully driven and penetrating, Sanderling’s performance maintains relentless tempi and forward momentum… To sum up, throughout this epic cycle with its gamut of intense emotions, Michael Sanderling conspicuously demonstrates his perception and maturity, blended with conviction and controlled power. With outstanding command of tempi and dynamics, Sanderling shuns the use of excessive weight and thick and abrasive textures unless it is completely necessary… Michael Sanderling and the Dresdner Philharmonie have put heart and soul into this Shostakovich cycle and the result is worthy of considerable acclaim. If I had to choose a single set it would be this.”

Michael Cookson

Music Web International

“This week marked Michael Sanderling’s debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker, with this programme, here played for the third and final time, giving ample opportunity to display his considerable talents… In the coda Sanderling (the youngest son of Kurt) urged the players towards a conclusion that felt outwardly triumphant, yet had something caustic about it. Most impressive was the way in which he welded all the constituent parts of the Symphony into a cohesive whole, here more than eighty minutes; a sense of architecture informed the performance, with never a hint of longueur… Sanderling – a one-time cellist – was admirably supportive, especially in a very touching account of the Adagio [of Haydn’s Cello Concerto in D]. Sanderling was especially attentive to the dynamics of the finale”

Richard Landau

Classical Source

“Sanderling does not shy away from tenderness, nor does he attempt to tease out the last horror of infernal clusters of sound. His interpretation unfolds with dignity and integrity, which the [Berliner] Philharmoniker delivers in great unity.”

Urlich Amling

Berlin Tagesspiegel

“The dialogue between the woodwinds and the strings (and this first violin tuned a higher tone) is continuous, and very rich: the dissonant intervals do not interfere with the fluidity of the phrases… under the baton of the chef Michael Sanderling.”

Harmonie Selectives

“This inspiring Dresden cycle from Michael Sanderling can stand proudly alongside the above recordings and unless you need big-band Beethoven, this is one of the finest of the newer sets. In what feels like a labour of love, the Dresdner Philharmonie provide characteristically stylish and penetrating performances that are entirely compelling.”

Michael Cookson

MusicWeb International

“For over an hour, the Orchestre National de Capitole de Toulouse was unsurpassed under the leadership of Michael Sanderling… the symphonic structure was well-shaped, with a particular care taken to highlight the details of Bruckner’s rich sound palette… A revelation.” [Translated from French]

A.-M. Chouchan

La Dépêche

“Sanderling develops an energetically driven forward momentum and I felt a shiver run down my spine as the music rushes impetuously to an awe-inspiring conclusion of outward triumph. More than a match for most, Michael Sanderling and Dresdner Philharmonie give a performance that feels totally sincere with a marvellous sound.”

Michael Cookson

MusicWeb International

“Sweeping melodic lines were carefully nurtured, supported sympathetically and attentively by Sanderling…a very fine orchestral display under a conductor who really brought out the best of the “Dresden sound”.”

Mark Thomas


“Conductor Sanderling both conveyed and embodied the piece’s contained power, while the orchestra revelled in its drama and angst, rising to each of its magnificent climaxes.”

Jude Clarke

Cambridge Independent

…The defining feature of Sanderling’s performance was his patience with Bruckner’s characteristic stop-go style, letting the work breathe, appreciating the beauty in the composer’s lyrical paragraphs, and allowing the huge climaxes to build out of a natural preexisting flow… The conducting always found telling musical space, keen detailing and a sense of architecture. The conductor’s assimilation of Ländler style also secured dividends in many places, cultivating a natural lyrical pacing and eloquence… it was the contrasting sense of lyrical intimacy and the conductor’s unerring pacing throughout the movement that made the final brass statements so commanding and spiritually uplifting.

Geoffrey Newman

Seen and Heard International

… Michael Sanderling setzte mit dem russisch singenden Männerchor des Philharmonischen Chors im Gasteig nicht auf großes Pathos, auch nicht auf die grelle Groteske, sondern führte die Symphonie mit bewundernswertem, großformalem Überblick und handwerklicher Souveränität in ihr Zentrum: die Klage um unwiederbringlich verrinnende Lebenszeit in der Diktatur. …

Süddeutsche Zeitung

In this Lukaskirche, Dresden recording it is evident how Sanderling fully appreciates that this progressive score is music of extensive concentration, intensity and—as the designation—might suggest heroic power… With striking immediacy in the Finale, it feels as if the spirit of life has broken free with Sanderling’s swirling and dramatic power… Sanderling’s account of the Tenth Symphony is one of the finest I know. It can join the ranks of recommendable recordings that I most admire… Characteristically stylish and entirely compelling under Michael Sanderling, the Dresdner Philharmonie demonstrates its prowess in these Beethoven and Shostakovich masterworks.

Beethoven 3rd Symphony & Shoshtakovich 10th Symphony, Sony Classical

Music Web International