Professor Matthias Kuntzsch
Music Director and Conductor
Maestro Kuntzsch was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, along the Rhine River. He attended school in Braunschweig where his grandmother was Lord Mayor. His grandmother thought he should be a graphic artist, because Matthias showed artistic talent. But his love of music won out. He was allowed to go the Conservatory of Music in Hannover where he studied piano with the famous Mozart pianist, Karl Engel. In these years he founded the Jeunesses Musicales Orchestra. At his first concert his grandmother wept.
Maestro Kuntzsch continued his studies in the summers at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and in Switzerland, attending Master Class courses of Lovro von Matacic, Herbert von Karajan and Pablo Casals.
He landed his first professional job as Repetitor at the State Theater of Braunschweig where he stayed for three years, conducting his first operas and operettas. In the summers he came to the Bayreuth Festival as Musical Assistant to Wolfgang and Wieland Wagner.
Thereafter his career rocketed. The opera house in Bonn engaged the young conductor, and after two years the Mannheim Nationaltheater won Maestro Kuntzsch for another three-year contract. In Mannheim he met and married Sylvia Anderson, the leading mezzo-soprano of the opera company. He conducted their first Carmen, Orfeo and Cosi fan tutte together.
It was not long before the name Kuntzsch was ringing out all over Germany. At the suggestion of Horst Stein, Mannheim's General Music Director, Director Rolf Liebermann hired Matthias on a three-year contract to Hamburg. Günther Rennert hired him away from Hamburg to the Nationaltheater, Munich, where he assumed the position of Staatskapellmeister for another four years. It was in Munich where the Kuntzsch's had their first child, Alexandra.
But it wasn't to be a final station. Maestro Kuntzsch went to Lübeck where he became the General Music Director and Conductor of the Opera and Symphony Orchestra. It was there that he was able to delve into the many symphony scores that he loved so much.
It wasn't long before Maestro Kuntzsch became a father again to a bouncing baby boy named Christopher. And the luck continued. He was named Professor of Conducting at the Conservatory of Music, Hamburg, where he was able to return in another capacity. He also had not lost track of the Nationaltheater in Munich which continued to recruit Matthias for many opera productions, alternating performances with Karl Böhm and Carlos Kleiber.
After establishing his family and himself firmly in the northern part of Germany, the inevitable telephone call came from the southern part of Germany asking Kuntzsch if he would be interested in assuming the position of General Music Director and Conductor of the State Theater of the Saarland in Saarbrücken. He accepted and resided in there with his family for over twelve years.
During this period Maestro Kuntzsch penetrated even further into his love of symphony scores and conducted over 100 concerts consisting of the major and minor symphonic works from Bach to Stravinsky and Ligeti. He accompanied many famous soloists such as Yehudi Menuhin, Ruggiero Ricci, Radu Lupu, Eugene List, Stephen Hough, Andre Watts, and Birgit Nilsson.
In the Saarland years Matthias Kuntzsch conducted Richard Wagner's entire "Ring" cycle, most of Verdi's beloved operas, and most of the operas of Richard Strauss and Puccini. He was a pioneer for some of Europe's leading opera composers such as Christof Penderecki, Gian-Carlo Menotti, Günter Bialas, and Gyorgi Ligeti. In the many years at the Saarländisches Staatstheater Kuntzsch conducted over 75 operas as well as many guest engagements outside of Germany.
Of the many orchestras that Maestro Kuntzsch conducted the following are of primary importance: Brussels Philharmonic, Nouvel Philharmonic Paris, RAI Milano, Napoli Symphony, Orchestra of the La Fenice, Venice, Bologna Symphony, NHK Tokyo, Hamburg Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Berlin Symphonie Orchester, Essen Symphony, Bochum Symphony, Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, Staatsorchester Braunschweig, Staatsorchester Hannover, Stuttgarter Philharmonie. In the U.S. Maestro Kuntzsch has conducted the Colorado Symphony, Utah Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, and Boulder Philharmonic. He is a frequent guest in the opera houses of the US and South America. He has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera, San Diego, Opera Colorado, Portland Opera, Columbus Opera, San Juan Opera, Vancouver Opera, Sadlers Wells, London, Teatro del Liceo, Barcelona, Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, Bruxelles, Amsterdam Stichting, Teatro Verdi, Triest, Rome Opera, Rio de Janeiro, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt and many others.
Since 1992 Maestro Kuntzsch has been Musical Director and Conductor of the Bay Area Summer Opera Theater Institute (BASOTI), training ground for young singers preparing for a career in opera. In 2005 BASOTI created an orchestra consisting of young musicians from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Maestro Kuntzsch has featured the works of Mozart and Handel in the new BASOTI design. In 2013 Kuntzsch conducted Verdi's "Falstaff" with rousing success at the Conservatory of Music, with soloists from BASOTI, for Verdi's 200th Birthday.