Markus Stenz has held a number of high-profile positions with international orchestras and opera houses including Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (2012-2019), Principal Guest Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2015-2019), and Conductor-in-Residence of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra (2016-2019). He served as General Music Director of the City of Cologne Gürzenich-Kapellmeister for 11 years (2003-2014), Principal Guest Conductor of the Hallé Orchestra (2010-2014), Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (1998-2004), Principal Conductor of London Sinfonietta (1994-1998) and Artistic Director of the Montepulciano Festival (1989-1995).
Stenz made his opera debut in 1988 at La Fenice in Venice in the first performance of Henze’s revised version of Elegy for Young Lovers. He has appeared at many of the world’s major opera houses and international festivals, including Teatro alla Scala, La Monnaie in Brussels, English National Opera, San Francisco Opera, Stuttgart Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Edinburgh International Festival. Notable performances in Cologne have included Wagner’s Ring, Lohengrin, Tannhäuser, and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, as well as Janáček’s Jenůfa and Katya Kabanova, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Eötvös’s Love and other Demons.
Stenz has conducted many world premieres, including Henze’s Das Verratene Meerfor Deutsche Oper Berlin, Venus und Adonis for Bavarian State Opera, L’Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe at the Salzburg Festival, Wolfgang Rihm’s Die Eroberung von Mexico, and Detlev Glanert’s Caligula for Frankfurt Opera and Solaris at the Bregenz Festival. He recently returned to Bayerische Staatsoper Munich for Schreker’s Die Gezeichneten, and, in the 2018-2019 season, conducted the long awaited world premiere of Kurtag’s Fin de Partie at La Scala, and Dutch National Opera. The Guardian wrote of the premiere at La Scala, “Markus Stenz’s conducting realises every detail of the score with the absolute precision Kurtág’s music always demands.”
Stenz has appeared as guest conductor with the world’s major orchestras, including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, NHK, the Symphony Orchestra of the Bayerische Rundfunk, Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, London Philharmonic, Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, Vienna Symphony, Symphony Orchestra of the Hessischer Rundfunk and NDR. In the United States, Stenz has led the Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnatti, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, St Louis, Oregon, and Colorado Symphony Orchestras, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, and, in a recent debut, the Pittsburgh Symphony.
In the 2019-2020 season, Stenz makes conducting debuts with the New Jersey and Detroit Symphony Orchestras and returns to the Aspen Music Festival and Indianapolis Symphony. Other highlights of the coming seasons include debuts with Orchestre National de Lyon, Bergen Philharmonic, and Barcelona Symphony Orchestra, returns to Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and New Japan Philharmonic, and opera productions at Deutche Oper Berlin and Dutch National Opera, as well as a return to Bayerische Staatsoper Munich.
Stenz’s extensive discography boasts many prize-winning recordings, including the Gürzenich Orchestra’s complete cycle of Mahler's symphonies for Oehms Classics. The recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 5 received a German Record Critics’ Award in November 2009, and their first recording for Hyperion of Strauss’s Don Quixoteand Till Eulenspiegel received unanimous critical acclaim. An equally celebrated recording of Schönberg’s Gurrelieder followed in 2015, and received the Choral Award at the 2016 Gramophone Awards.
During his time with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, Stenz received a prize for “The Best Concert Programme of the 2003-2004 Season.” He also launched a number of youth and educational projects, such as “Experiment Klassik”, “3. Akt,” and the concert live-recording project, “GO live.” Stenz studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne under Volker Wangenheim and at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein and Seiji Ozawa. He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Northern College of Music and the “Silberne Stimmgabel” (Silver Tuning Fork) of the state of North Rhein/Westphalia.