Peter Sellars has gained international renown for his ground-breaking and innovative interpretations of artistic masterpieces and for collaborative projects with an extraordinary range of creative artists. He has staged operas at the Dutch National Opera, the English National Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Paris Opéra, the San Francisco Opera and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, among others. He made his Salzburg Festival debut in 1992 with Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise. His 2016 collaboration with the LA Master Chorale, Orlando di Lasso’s Lagrime di San Pietro, has since toured worldwide, with performances in more than twenty cities and nine countries, including at the 2019 Salzburg Festival. Peter Sellars and the LA Chorale have now reunited for a new project, Music to Accompany a Departure.
Peter Sellars has collaborated on the creation of many works with composer John Adams, including Nixon in China, The Death of Klinghoffer, El Niño, Doctor Atomic, A Flowering Tree, The Gospel According to the Other Mary and Girls of the Golden West. A great admirer of the compositions of Kaija Saariaho, he has guided the creation of productions of her work that have expanded the field of modern opera, including the world premiere of her first opera, L’Amour de loin, at the 2000 Salzburg Festival.
Recent projects include a 2022 staging of the medieval verse romance Roman de Fauvel at the Théâtre du Châtelet in collaboration with Benjamin Bagby, founder of the Sequentia Ensemble. He also staged Tyshawn Sorey’s Monochromatic Light (Afterlife), featuring artwork by Julie Mehretu, for the Park Avenue Armory in New York. A revival of Sellars’s acclaimed Tristan und Isolde production, with videography by artist Bill Viola, was presented at the Paris Opéra in 2023. Most recently he staged a new production of Kaija Saariaho’s opera Adriana Mater with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen.
Peter Sellars has led several major arts festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals and the 2002 Adelaide Festival of Arts. In 2006 he was artistic director of New Crowned Hope, a month-long festival in Vienna for which he invited artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to create new work in the fields of music, theatre, dance, film, the visual arts and architecture for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. He also served as music director of the 2016 Ojai Music Festival in California.
Peter Sellars is a distinguished professor in the Department of World Arts and Culture at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a resident curator of the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. He was a mentor for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, the Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture and the Gish Prize. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2014 he was awarded the prestigious Polar Music Prize and named Artist of the Year by Musical America. In 2021, he was honoured with the EBU-IMZ Outstanding Achievement Award for his series of opera video recordings.