As music director of the Cleveland Orchestra for the last 19 years, Franz Welser-Möst has shaped the orchestra’s distinctive musical sound. Throughout this time international music critics have repeatedly praised the orchestra for its musical excellence. Innovative projects and cooperative ventures have always sought to address and attract younger audiences with the result that at present a fifth of all concertgoers are under 25. Ever since Franz Welser-Möst first worked with the orchestra, its programmes have featured an increased number of world premieres, including works by composers in residence, as well as opera productions in Severance Hall, an aspect of its activities that can look back on a lengthy history. In addition to residencies in the United States, Europe and China, the Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst have appeared at every major festival. Franz Welser-Möst will continue as music director until 2027.
As a guest conductor Franz Welser-Möst enjoys a particularly close and productive artistic relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic. He has twice conducted its New Year Concerts and appears with the orchestra on a regular basis both at subscription concerts in the Vienna Musikverein and on tour in Japan, China, Australia and the United States. He has also conducted historic memorial concerts in Sarajevo and Versailles.
Franz Welser-Möst appears regularly at the Salzburg Festival, where he has set new interpretative standards in the operatic and symphonic repertoire. His opera performances include Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier, Fidelio, Die Liebe der Danae, Aribert Reimann’s Lear and, in 2018, Salome, a production that has gone down in the Festival’s annals. In 2020, the year of the Festival’s 100th anniversary, he conducted a new production of Elektra.
Among Franz Welser-Möst’s titles and awards is that of Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna and Holder of the Ring of Honour of the Vienna Philharmonic. He has also been honoured with the Kilenyi Medal of the Bruckner Society of America and the Gold Medal in the Arts of the Kennedy Center in Washington. In 2020 he received the Salzburg Festival’s Ruby Pin.
Franz Welser-Möst’s latest book, Als ich die Stille fand: Ein Plädoyer gegen den Lärm der Welt, was published in the summer of 2020 and immediately shot to the top of Austria’s list of bestsellers. An English translation appeared in May 2021 under the title From Silence: Finding Calm in a Dissonant World.
Franz Welser-Möst has made numerous CDs and DVDs, many of which have received international awards. Among them are live recordings of the Salzburg productions of Der Rosenkavalier, Salome and Elektra. His most recent live recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra are included in a three-CD box titled The Cleveland Orchestra: A New Century and featuring works by Beethoven, Strauss, Prokofiev, Varèse, Johannes Maria Staud and Bernd Richard Deutsch. A live recording of Schubert’s ‘Great’ C major Symphony and Ernst Krenek’s Static and Ecstatic was released in October 2020 as part of the same series.