MICHAEL BALKE, CONDUCTOR
Equally at home in the symphonic and opera repertoire, the young German conductor Michael Balke is quickly gaining international attention for his performances. He regularly accepts invitations to many European countries as well as Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States. Balke was born in Braunschweig and received a full scholarship for his musical education at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, where he studied piano with James Tocco, conducting with Christopher Zimmerman, and chamber music with the Balke lived in Italy from 2007 to 2011, where he assisted Riccardo Frizza at the Maggio Musicale in Florence and in Verona. In 2011 he became the principal conductor of the Magdeburg Opera, where he conducted a broad repertoire of new productions from Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti to Verdi, Stravinsky, Korngold, and Richard Strauss as well as numerous symphony concerts. Highlights of this period include Der Rosenkavalier and a new production of Richard Strauss’ Elektra.
At the same time, Balke accepted international invitations as a guest conductor: Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette at the Teatro Grande in Brescia and in Como, Cremona, and Pavia; Hänsel und Gretel at the Staatstheater Kassel; La Traviata at the Nationaltheater Mannheim; La Bohème at the Danish National Opera; and L’Heure Espagnole / Gianni Schicchi for the 2016 season opening at the Opéra National de Lorraine in Nancy. Balke regularly collaborates with singers such as Ludovic Tézier, Lawrence Brownlee, Ian Bostridge, and Marina Rebeka, with whom he gave concerts in Zagreb with the Croatian Radio Orchestra, in Munich with the Munich Radio Orchestra, and at the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. Balke was recently named principal guest conductor of the St. Gallen Theater and Symphony Orchestra (Switzerland), starting his tenure in the 2018/19 season.