Born in Linz, Franz Welser-Möst started out studying the violin, but later chose conducting. He served as music director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra from 1990 to 1996, and was appointed music director of the Zurich Opera, a post he held from 1995 to 2008. From 2010 to 2014, he served as Generalmusikdirektor of the Vienna State Opera, with which he put on the acclaimed new production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Since 2002, Welser-Möst has served as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2018. His contract with that orchestra was extended in 2014 until 2022, making him the longest serving conductor to hold the position in the orchestra’s history. The success of this partnership is attested by award-winning recordings and numerous concert invitations both in and outside the US.
Also of note are the many premieres and world premieres he has conducted and his return to opera, including productions of Mozart’s Da Ponte operas.
Welser-Möst has made guest appearances conducting a number of leading orchestras. He enjoys a close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which he led on its acclaimed New Year’s Day concert in 2011 and 2013. This special relationship was recognized in 2014 when he was presented with the orchestra’s Ring of Honour.
Welser-Möst conducted the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra for the first time in April 2016 with works by Mozart and Bruckner.