Danish conductor Michael Schønwandt made his Royal Opera debut in 1985 conducting I Capuleti e i Montecchi. He has since conducted Tosca, Werther, Madama Butterfly and Maskarade for the Company, and returns in the 2014/15 Season to conduct Falstaff.
Schønwandt was born in Copenhagen and studied piano, theory and composition there and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He has conducted regularly for the Royal Danish Opera since 1979 and was Music Director of the company 2000–11. Other previous positions include Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra and of Berlin Symphony Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of La Monnaie, Brussels, the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Flanders Philharmonic. He is Principal Guest Conductor for Stuttgart State Opera.
Schønwandt has appeared as a guest conductor for leading opera companies, including Paris Opéra, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and at the Bayreuth Festival, in repertory by Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss, Berg and Janáček, among others. He has conducted all the major European orchestras and has conducted world premieres of many works, including Henze’s Third Violin Concerto, Kurtág’s Concertante and Ruders’s operas The Handmaid’s Tale and Dancer in the Dark. His recordings include the complete Nielsen symphonies and concertos.