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Will Humburg, Kapellmeister – Maestro – Conductor and Author.


Will Humburg, Principal Guest-Conductor at the Opera House Bonn, Germany and regular Guest-Conductor at the Opera of Cologne, studied in his hometown Hamburg with Horst Stein, Christoph von Dohnányi and others.


His career began with permanent engagements at the opera houses of Bremen and Hagen and the Symphony Orchestra of Bochum in the 1980s. During that time, he also undertook freelance engagements as Guest Conductor and quickly became well-established in Germany and indeed internationally.


From 1988 to 1991 Will Humburg was Artistic Director of the Laboratorio Lirico Festival for contemporary musical theatre in Alessandria, Italy.

Here, he conducted a series of Italian and world premieres of Wolfgang Rihm, Siegfried Matthus, Peter Maxwell Davies, Franco Donatoni, Azio Corghi and Michéle Reverdy.


From 1992 to 2004 he was Chief Musical Director and Conductor of the opera house and the symphony orchestra of Muenster, Germany, where he developed an impressive series of highly acclaimed productions.

These included, for example, Richard Wagner’s “Ring des Nibelungen” cycle (1999-2001).

He also received wide acclaim for productions of Le Grand Macabre (Ligeti), Don Carlo (Giuseppe Verdi), “Tristan und Isolde” and “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg” (Richard Wagner) as well as a series of semi-staged performances with unique combinations of different compositions, including the mixing of opera and concert pieces.


Since 2008, Will Humburg is the Principal Guest Conductor at the Opera House in Bonn. Amongst his achievements in this role, he initiated and conducted a phenomenally successful series where productions of lesser-known operas by Giuseppe Verdi were staged.


Since 2009 he has also been a regular Guest Conductor at the Cologne Opera where amongst his many successes, he conducted a series of critically acclaimed operas – to include four of Verdi’s last five operas, as well as Wagner’s Parsifal and Mozart’s “Magic Flute”, to name but a few.


From 2009 to 2012 Will Humburg was the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Italy.


From 2014 to 2018 he was Chief Musical Director and Conductor of the Staatstheater Darmstadt, Germany, where he conceptualised and performed several successful concerts and opera productions such as a Leoš

Janacek cycle withThe Cunning Little Vixen“Jenufa“ and The Makropulos Case.

In his position in Darmstadt, he also continued his programme of semi-staged productions, staged by himself in cooperation with Ines Krome.


His wide-ranging repertoire includes more than 120 pieces of opera and other music-theatre works. Moreover, his dynamic interpretations, acclaimed for their passion and stylistic authenticity, have made Will Humburg a much sought-after conductor for both classical music concerts and opera.


Guest engagements have brought him to opera houses in eighteen countries on four different continents.


In his native Germany alone, his career as Kapellmeister has seen Humburg’s work at the opera houses of Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Hannover, Cologne, Essen, Düsseldorf, Bonn, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Wiesbaden, Weimar and Saarbrücken, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Munich, to name but a few.


In Italy, he conducted among others at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the orchestras of the Academy of St. Cecilia in Rome and of Maggio Musicale in Florence, Teatro Reggio Turin, Arena di Verona, Teatro Bellini Catania, Teatro Lirico Cagliari, the Teatro Verdi Triest and the Teatro Massimo Palermo.


Other notable international appointments include the Sao Carlos Opera House Lisbon, Budapest State Opera – with which he also toured Japan, National Opera House Zagreb, Athens concert hall (Megaron), Teatro de la Maestranza Sevilla and the Opera de Oviedo, the St Petersburg Philharmonie,  Malmoe Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Philharmonie de Luxembourg,  Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Opera House and Suzhou Symphony Orchestra, Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra, the opera festivals of Menorca and Savonlinna, as well as the Verdi festival in Busseto.


Since 1990, Will Humburg has had several successful collaborations with the recording company „ Naxos“, including the complete recordings of “La Bohème”Il Barbiere di SivigliaIl Trovatore and Falstaff, the latter being chosen by the magazine Gramophone as Editors‘ Choice of the Month in 1997.


Will Humburg has received several nominations in the world-renowned German music journal “Opernwelt” for the award of “Conductor of the Year”, with particular reference to his Verdi interpretations. He remains ever popular with performers internationally, who appreciate his unyielding ambition and ability to communicate his passion to their craft.


He has also gained a reputation for being a leading interpreter of contemporary music. Through an artistic collaboration with Italian composer Azio Corghi, spanning more than three decades, he has conducted a total of five of his operas, including four world premieres at the  Teatro alla Scala in Milan and the opera houses of Muenster and Catania.


Will Humburg’s repertoire also includes important operas and concerts by Ligeti, Penderecki, Zimmermann, Nono, Henze, Matthus and Rihm.


Notwithstanding the global Coronavirus pandemic, seeing theatres globally closed to public performances, Humburg has not allowed that to diminish his output. Rather, he has taken advantage of lockdown circumstances to publish a long-planned book, Wagner’s Rheingold Eine Deutung von Leitmotivik und Orchestration”  -(an Interpretation of Leitmotivs and Orchestration) with Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg.


The same publishing house also published a detailed article by him on the interpretation of Verdi’s Rigoletto as well as a musical analysis of said opera in the series “Verdiperspektiven” edited by Anselm Gerhard.


August 2021




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