Chief conductor

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt

Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt is one of the leading cellists of his generation, in our time.
Mstislav Rostropovitch
A small treasure still has a special place in Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt’s photo album: A lock of his hair which Mstislav Rostropovich stroked when he was only eight years old. The master's words at the time were to prove true: “One day you will become a great cellist.”

In fact, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt was already able to attract attention at numerous competitions during his studies with David Geringas and Aldo Parisot. He was a prize-winner at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and winner of the German Music Competition. At the Rostropovich International Competition, the jury chaired by Mstislav Rostropovich awarded him the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris and also the Contemporary Music Prize.

Ever since Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has conquered the world’s concert stages as a soloist, playing with renowned orchestras in Europe, Russia and the United States such as the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Deutsches Symphonieorchester, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the Philharmonia Prague under renowned conductors such as Marek Janowski, Charles Dutoit, Sir Donald Runnicles, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Jiri Belohlavek and Gabriel Feltz, Michael Sanderling, Nicholas Milton, Markus Poschner and many others. In addition, he is a welcome guest at festivals like the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, the Rheingau Musik Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, where he has performed with Christoph Eschenbach.

In addition to his solo activities as a cellist, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt is an enthusiastic chamber musician. He was a member of the Chamber Music Society Two of Lincoln Center in New York and forms the successful cello duo “Cello Duello” with Jens Peter Maintz – and has done so for around 30 years. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt also devotes himself to contemporary music with great passion. He has premiered works by Eva-Pekka Salonen, Alfred Schnittke, Christian Jost, Fabrice Bollon and Sören Nils Eichberg, among others.

For the past few years Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has increasingly focused his activities on conducting, a devotion towards what was already part of his studies at the Juilliard School in New York.

He has received invitations to the Dortmunder Philharmoniker, the Göttinger Symphonieorchester and the Hofer Symphoniker, the Kammerorchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin, the Staatskapelle St. Petersburg, the INSO Lviv, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Württembergische Philharmonie and the Südwestdeutsches Kammerorchester. Guest conductorships have taken him to Switzerland, Poland and Spain.

As principal conductor of the chamber orchestra Metamorphosen Berlin which he also founded, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt has led the ensemble in numerous concerts in German, Spain and Switzerland as well as in concerts at the Elbphilharmonie and the Konzerthaus Berlin, where the orchestra has also found its artistic home with its own concert series.

During the past few years, the orchestra has recorded two critically acclaimed CDs with works by Dvořák, Suk and Tchaikovsky for Sony Classical. Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt’s recordings of various cello concertos were also released by Sony Classical, and his recording of Ernest Bloch’s “Voice in the wilderness” appeared on the Capriccio label. In 2013 he was awarded the German Record Critics' Prize and the Diapason d'Or for his recording of Carl Maria von Weber's Piano Quartet with Isabelle Faust, Boris Faust and Alexander Melnikov.

In addition to his performances as a conductor, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt also regularly appears in a dual capacity as soloist and conductor simultaneously.
Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt teaches as a professor at the Hochschule für Musik “Franz Liszt” Weimar, the Berlin University of the Arts and the Kronberg Academy.