Michael Wendeberg - Conductor

Michael Wendeberg © Michael Seum

Classical repertoire – from Bach to Schoenberg – comes just as naturally to conductor and pianist Michael Wendeberg as his passion for new music. In 2016 he took up the position of “Erster Kapellmeister” at the Halle Opera, where in the current season he is conducting performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Verdi’s Requiem as well as Meyerbeer’s L’Africaine and Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.

Michael Wendeberg has conducted renowned orchestras and ensembles including the Staatskapelle Berlin, Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra Ljubljana, Klangforum Wien, Remix Ensemble Porto, Musikfabrik Cologne and the Basel Sinfonietta. He has made guest appearances at the Lucerne Festival, Munich Biennale, Bregenz Festival, Venice Biennale, Eclat Festival Stuttgart and Klangspuren Schwaz, as well as at Wien Modern. He made his debut with the WDR Symphony Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Beethovenfest Bonn as well as the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin at the Acht Brücken Festival Cologne. Since April 2018, after seven years as Music Director, he has been announced as first guest conductor of the Ensemble Contrechamps in Geneva.

Michael Wendeberg studied piano with Markus Stange, Bernd Glemser and Benedetto Lupo and conducting in Toshiyuki Kamioka’s masterclass in Saarbrücken. During this time he worked as Toshiyuki Kamioka’s assistant at the Wuppertaler Bühnen. After graduating Michael Wendeberg held positions at the Nationaltheater Mannheim and the Staatsoper Berlin, where he assisted Daniel Barenboim and guest conductors such as Pierre Boulez and Sir Simon Rattle, and was principal conductor at the Lucerne Theater.

His opera repertoire includes Bizet’s Carmen; Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Handel’s Orlando; Mozart’s Zaide Clemenza di Tito and The Magic Flute; Verdi’s La Traviat, Un Ballo in Maschera and Il Trovatore; Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Don Pasquale; Rossini’s La Scala di Seta and La Cenerentola; Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel; Ponchielli’s La Gioconda; Bernstein’s West Side Story; and Puccini’s La Bohéme and Tosca. Michael Wendeberg gained national recognition early on in his career in 2006 with Michael Nyman’s The man who mistook his wife for a hat in Wuppertal, as well as the world premiere of Enno Poppe’s ArbeitNahrungWohnung in a production by Anna Viebrock in 2008 at the Munich Biennale, and Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s Des Simplicius Simplicissimus Jugend, staged by the director Thomas Fiedler in Zurich in 2010. In 2016 he led the world premiere of Sidney Corbett’s opera Die Andere at the Magdeburg Theatre. He also returned to the Staatsoper Berlin for the revival of The Magic Flute and a new production of Aribert Reimann’s Gespenstersonate in summer 2017. Last season in Halle he conducted Beethoven’s Fidelio and Verdi’s Aida as well as the premiere of a ballet set to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.

As a pianist, Michael Wendeberg has won several national and international piano competitions and performed as a soloist at renowned festivals and with prestigious orchestras under conductors such as Jonathan Nott, Marek Janowski and Daniel Barenboim. From 2000 until 2005 he was a member of the Ensemble intercontemporain and worked intensively with Pierre Boulez. In March 2018 he appeared at the Boulez Saal with the Boulez’s complete works for piano, a feat he first pulled off as part of the late composer’s 90th birthday celebrations at the Staatsoper Berlin in 2015. A CD production of the sonatas is planned for summer 2018.

In the 2018/19 season, Michael Wendeberg will return to the Ensemble Intercontemporain, this time on the conductor’s podium rather than as a pianist. He will also conduct concerts with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in Birmingham and Trier and return to the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, the Estonian Symphony Orchestra Tallin and the Ensemble Modern. Guest appearances will lead him to the Ultraschall Festival Berlin with the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin as well as to Witten with the WDR Symphony Orchestra.