As General Music Director of the City of Bonn from 2008-2016, Stefan Blunier has served as Chief Conductor of both the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn and Bonn Opera. Under his charismatic direction, a new musical awareness infused the orchestra which became increasingly in demand abroad with notable tours including a highly successful visit to China in 2011, and an 11-concert tour of the USA. The orchestra’s recordings under his direction were recognized with two ECHO Klassik “Opera Recording of the Year” awards for Eugen d’Albert’s Der Golem (2011) and Franz Schreker’s Irrelohe (2012) which also received a Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (German Recording Critics Prize). Blunier’s Symphonic recordings including works by Respighi, Schoenberg, Franz Schmidt Symphony No 4, Bruckner Symphony No 8 and a Beethoven cycle which have similarly received a host of awards and nominations.
In the 2018/19 he will appear again at Deutsche Oper Berlin conducting Salome and Tannhäuser, as well as in concert engagements in Weimar, Porto, Sao Paolo and Taiwan. Future projects include a new production at the Royal Swedish Opera and a new invitation to Oper Frankfurt.
In the field of opera, he has conducted productions in Munich, Hamburg, Leipzig, Stuttgart, Berlin (Deutsche Oper and Komische Oper), Montpellier, Oslo, Bern, Geneva and London (English National Opera). His interpretation of Massenet’s Thais at Opera Bonn was acclaimed as one of Germany’s “best opera productions of 2014” (Opernglas), and a highly successful production of Daphne at Frankfurt Opera resulted in an immediate re-invitation to conduct Tristan und Isolde. Other recent performances include Henze’s Elegy for Young Lovers at English National Opera, Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmelites at Staatsoper Hamburg, Elektra, Tannhäuser and Benvenuto Cellini in Bonn, Rigoletto at Zurich Opera and Les Contes d’Hoffmann at Norwegian Opera and Komische Oper Berlin. His performances of Wozzeck at the Grand Théâtre de Geneva in March 2017 led to an immediate re-invitation for the 2017/18 season (Le Baron Tzigane). He is renowned for his keen interest in late 19th century and early 20th century repertoire as well as contemporary music including productions such as Irrelohe and Das Spielwerk by Schreker, Szymanowski’s Krol Roger, Cerha’s Der Rattenfänger and the German premiere of Saariaho’s L’amour de loin.
Blunier’s guest-conducting engagements have taken him to nearly all the German radio symphony orchestras as well as the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Staatsphilharmonie Ludwigshafen, Duisburg Symphony Orchestra and numerous orchestras in Denmark, Belgium, the Far East, Switzerland and France. Recent highlights include the NHK Symphony Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Stuttgart Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, South Netherlands Philharmonic, Norwegian Radio and the Century Symphony Orchestra of Osaka. Alongside his appointment in Bonn, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de Belgique (2010-2013).
Stefan Blunier was born in Bern, Switzerland and studied piano, horn, composition and conducting in Bern and at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen. He is also a founder of the Ensemble für Neue Musik Essen. The early part of career began with successes in the Besançon and Malko Conducting Competitions, which were followed by appointments in Mannheim (Associate Chief Conductor) and Darmstadt (Music Director and Chief Conductor 2001-2008) prior to his tenure in Bonn.
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