Renowned for his distinctive interpretations, Manfred Honeck has served as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra since the 2008-2009 season. He and the orchestra are consistently recognized for their performances and are celebrated both in Pittsburgh and abroad. To great acclaim, they regularly perform in major music capitals and festivals, among them the BBC Proms, Musikfest Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Rheingau Musik Festival, Beethovenfest Bonn, Grafenegg Festival, Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony also have built a close relationship with the Musikverein in Vienna. Following a week-long residency in 2012, they returned for three performances in the course of an extensive tour of Europe in spring 2016. Their next tour, in summer 2017, will again lead them to Europe’s most prestigious music festivals.
Honeck's successful work with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been extensively documented on recordings with the Reference Recording and Exton labels. All SACDs released by Reference Recordings, among them Strauss tone poems, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven Symphonies No. 5 and 7 and, most recently, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6, have received numerous rave reviews and honors. The recording of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 and the Symphonic Suite from Janáček's opera Jenůfa, conceptualized by Honeck, was nominated for a Grammy Award, as was Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. Several recordings, including Mahler's Symphony No. 4, which won a 2012 International Classical Music Award, are also available on the Japanese label Exton.
Born in Austria, Honeck received his musical training at the Academy of Music in Vienna. Many years of experience as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra have given his conducting a distinctive stamp. He began his career as assistant to Claudio Abbado and as artistic leader of the Vienna Jeunesse Orchestra. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. Other early posts include Leipzig, where he was one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra, and Oslo, where he assumed the post of music director at the Norwegian National Opera on short notice for a year and was engaged as principal guest conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. From 2000 to 2006, he was music director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in Stockholm and, from 2008 to 2011 and again from 2013 to 2016, principal guest conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 2007 to 2011, Honeck was music director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart where he conducted premieres including Berlioz's Les Troyens, Mozart's Idomeneo, Verdi's Aida, Richard Strauss's Rosenkavalier, Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites and Wagner's Lohengrin and Parsifal, as well as numerous symphonic concerts. His operatic guest appearances include Semperoper Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, Royal Opera of Copenhagen, the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and the Salzburg Festival. Moreover, he has been artistic director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for more than 20 years.
As a guest conductor, Honeck has worked with the world’s leading orchestras including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Accademia di Santa Cecilia Rome and the Vienna Philharmonic. Orchestras he has conducted in the United States include the New York Philharmonic, The Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is also a regular guest at the Verbier Festival. His successful debut with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra resulted in a CD recording of works by Dvořák for Deutsche Grammophon together with Anne-Sophie Mutter, which received an Echo Klassik award in 2014. In the 2016-2017 season, he will return to Berlin and also continue his regular collaboration with the orchestras in Bamberg, Stockholm, Oslo, Prague and Rome. Other guest engagements include San Francisco Symphony, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Israel Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.
Honeck has received honorary doctorates from Carnegie Mellon University, St. Vincent College and the Catholic University of America. Most recently, he was awarded the title of honorary professor by the Austrian Federal President.