Bernhard Kontarsky, conductor

Bernhard Kontarsky was born in Iserlohn/Westfalen Germany in 1937. He studied conducting, piano, chamber music and musicology in Cologne. While at university he received the Mendelssohn Award for Chamber Music. His first engagement was at the Oper der Stadt Bonn, and then Ferdinand Leitner took him to Stuttgart, where he has conducted a series of experimental music theatre. Bernhard Kontarsky has taught contemporary music at the Music Academy of Frankfurt since 1981.

In the 2011/12 season Bernhard Kontarsky conducted during the "Festival Puccini plus" Schönberg´s Von heute auf morgen, Hindemith´s Sancta Susanna and Zemlinsky´s Eine florentinische Tragödie at the Opéra de Lyon. In May 2013 he conducted in Lyon Strauss´Capriccio and will return this season in Benjamin, dernière nuit, a creation by Michel Tabachnik.

Opera engagements led him to the Opéra National du Rhin with the premiere of L'Autre Côté by Bruno Mantovani, and with the world premiere of the opera Faust by Philippe Fénelon at the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse. He also conducted Il Segreto di Susanna by Wolf-Ferrari and a Florentine Tragedy by Zemlinsky at the Opéra National de Montpellier. In recent seasons, Bernhard Kontarsky was engaged at the Opéra National de Paris for the ballet Nosferatu by Dusapin or for Berg´s Lulu and Zimmerman's The soldiers, at Toulouse for Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, at Holland Symfonia in Haarlem. Other engagements bound him to the Grand Théâtre de Genève (Boris Godunov, Les Nègres), the Opéra National de Lyon (Les Nègres) to Toronto (Oedipus Rex, Symphony of Psalms, Bluebeard’s Castle), at the Opéra National de Lorraine (Il Prigioniero) and at the Opéra National du Rhin (Aperghis Tristes Tropiques).

Bernhard Kontarsky also has conducted many productions at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, De Vlaamse Opera, the Royal Opera House Stockholm the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf, the Canadian Opera Toronto and the Wiener Staatsoper. Kontarsky has conducted concerts and recordings for every German broadcasting company and the Austrian Broadcasting Company (ORF). He has also conducted the Orchestre de Paris, the Orchestre National de Lille, the Mozarteum-Orchester and the Berliner Sinfonieorchester as well as numerous concerts at the Wiener Musikverein, the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Bayerischer Rundfunk München, Verona and Palermo. After a successful production of Philippe Fénelon's Faust at the Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, Bernhard Kontarsky has been invited in spring 2012 at the Opéra National de Paris with the same opera.

In spring 2008 Bernhard Kontarsky conducted concerts of Dusapin and Ravel at the Konzerthaus Dortmund and the Philharmonie Essen. In November 2007, Bernhard Kontarsky conducts Zemlinsky’s König Kandaules with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. The new production of this opera at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie as well as the Opéra National de Lorraine earned the German conductor international acclaim.