Hartmut Haenchen's high intellect and musical integrity have secured his place in the forefront of musical life. Born in Dresden in 1943 he was raised in the post-war German Democratic Republic. Despite the restrictions imposed by the former East German regime, Haenchen was granted permission to work with the West’s finest ensembles, including the Berlin Philharmonic and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1986 he moved to the Netherlands and was appointed Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic and Chamber orchestras, and Music Director of Dutch National Opera. His breadth of experience and depth of understanding have won respect, while audiences have warmed to the humanity of his interpretations. He is particularly renowned and respected for his readings of works by Richard Strauss, Wagner and Mahler. In October 2008 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit of the Republic of Germany, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music and the arts.
Current highlights include a return to the Royal Opera House, London for Wagner’s Tannhäuser and a continuation of his War & Peace project, comprising opera productions of Iphigénie en Tauride in Geneva and Fidelio at Teatro Real, Madrid, as well as symphonic concerts throughout the world. He is also embarking on a Bruckner series, with plans to conduct all the Bruckner symphonies in the new critical edition.
Haenchen enjoys ongoing relationships with many orchestras worldwide. Recent and future appearances include the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Helsinki Philharmonic, Royal Danish Orchestra, Orchestre symphonique de la Monnaie, New Japan Philharmonic, Netherlands Philharmonic, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI (Turin), Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Staatsorchester Stuttgart and Museumsorchester Frankfurt.
Haenchen has forged close relationships with many of the world’s leading opera houses. His thirteen-year tenure as Music Director of Dutch National Opera was distinguished by his wide-ranging choice of operas by Berg, Gluck, Handel, Mozart, Mussorgsky, Puccini, Reimann, Shostakovich, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Verdi and Wagner. He enjoyed critical success conducting Wagner’s Ring directed by Pierre Audi. Available on CD, DVD and streamed online, the cycle was revived for the 2013 Wagner bicentenary. Other recent productions in Amsterdam include a new production of Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer, released on Blu-ray/DVD.
Other recent work includes new productions of Strauss’ Daphne and Elektra at Théâtre du Capitole Toulouse, Lohengrin at Teatro Real Madrid, Der fliegende Holländer at Teatro alla Scala Milan, Parsifal at Royal Danish Opera, Salome at the Royal Opera London, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (winner of the French Grand Prix de la Critique) and Wozzeck at Opéra national de Paris and a new production of Parsifal at La Monnaie, winner of the 2010 Prix de l’Europe Francophone and a French Grand Prix de la Critique.
Hartmut Haenchen has made over 130 recordings with different orchestras for Berlin Classics, Capriccio, OpusArte, Pentatone, Philips, Sony Classical, Vanguard and ICA Classics. These include a substantial discography with his Kammerorchester Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach. His DVD of Mahler’s Symphony No.6 (Orchestre symphonique de la Monnaie / ICA Classics) was awarded a Diapason d’Or. Haenchen is also the author of many books on music, including important studies of Wagner and Mahler, as well as performance practice in the 18th Century. Hartmut Haenchen also features in a documentary The Skies Over Dresden broadcast both on TV and as part of the Netherlands Film Festival, this documentary won the award for Best Educational Film at the 33rd International Festival of Films on Art, Montréal.