Thomas Sanderling

Upcoming performances:
13 April 2018

Sinaisky, whose conducting is precise and sensuous and who has a near-perfect technique, must have sharpened the senses of the Gewandhaus. This orchestra rarely plays with such boundless generosity, with such flexible dynamic range, with such voluptuous use of colour, so rich in detail and with such a grasp of structure. A truly great Shostakovich – moving, truthful and unsettling.

Leipziger Volkszeitung


Thomas Sanderling grew up in St. Petersburg, where his father, conductor Kurt Sanderling, was permanent conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He graduated from the Music School of the Leningrad Conservatory and went on to study conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in East Berlin, becoming Music Director of the Halle Opera at age 24. By his mid-twenties he was working with every major orchestra in East Germany, performing in famous venues including the Dresden Staatskapelle and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and won the Berlin Critics’ Prize for his opera performances at the Komische Oper Berlin. His CD of Shostakovich's Michelangelo Suite (premiere recording) led to his becoming assistant to both Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein. In the early 1980s he was appointed permanent guest conductor with the Deutsche Staatsoper Unter Den Linden, which was followed with his successful debut at the Wiener Staatsoper, conducting Die Zauberflöte.

He has conducted many orchestras including BBC Scottish, Baltimore Symphony, Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra; Bergen Philharmonic; Bournemouth Symphony; Czech Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester, Dresden Staatskapelle; Dresden Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, Halle Orchestra UK, Helsinki Philharmonic, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, London Philharmonic, Montreal Symphony, NDR Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic, Philharmonia Orchestra, Pittsburg Symphony, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Radio Philharmonic Hilversum, Royal Stockholm, St Petersburg Philharmonic, Tchaikowsky Radio Symphony (Moscow), Vancouver Symphony, WDR Symphony Cologne, Sydney Symphony, Novosibirsk Philharmonic etc. He is also a regular guest conductor of radio orchestras in Germany.

Thomas Sanderling was awarded the title of Lifetime Music Director Laureate by Osaka Symphony Orchestra. With this orchestra he won the Grand Prix of the Osaka Critics twice in three years.

He has enjoyed a close relationship with Dmitri Shostakovich and his family for many years and still works in close collaboration with Irina Shostakovich. He originally met Dmitri Shostakovich whilst making his Moscow debut, conducting the State Orchestra of Russia, on the invitation of Evgeny Svetlanov, as a result of winning a conducting competition in East Germany. Greatly impressed, Shostakovich entrusted him with the translation into German of the texts of his 13th and 14th Symphonies; later he conducted the German premieres of both works. He also conducted the world premiere recording of the Michelangelo Suite followed by the concert premiere of two British song cycles for which he also set the original English text: Six Romances on Verses by British Poets and Anglo-American folk Songs. Both works were performed with Bayerische Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra in Munich, recorded live and released on the Orfeo label in 2012. Inspired by Irina Shostakovich, he created an Italian version of the Michelangelo Suite, which is dedicated to her.

Thomas Sanderling has appeared in numerous opera houses including Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper Unter den Linden, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, Bolshoi Theatre, Mariinsky Theatre, Det Kongelige Teater Denmark, Finnish National Opera, Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, and Opéra de Nice.

He has recorded for many companies including: Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classical International, Naxos, BIS, Chandos, Audite, and Berlin Classics. His prizes and awards include Cannes Classical Award, INMA Award and a Grammy Nomination.

Recent highlights: Russian premiere of Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 3 at the Grand Festival of the Russian National Orchestra in Moscow. Concert appearances in Berlin and Vienna, conducting Japan Virtuoso Symphony, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Tchaikovsky Symphony Moscow, Helsinki Philharmonic, and Svetlanov State Orchestra.

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