Donald Runnicles


The Scottish conductor Donald Runnicles, who was born in 1954, studied in his native Edinburgh as well as in Cambridge and began his career in 1980 as a répétiteur at the Nationaltheater Mannheim. He was soon entrusted with conducting assignments, giving guest performances on various stages and was assuming his first leadership position at the Theater Freiburg in 1989. After conducting Wagner’s Ring cycle at the San Francisco Opera in 1990, he was immediately appointed head of that company, where he served as music director for sixteen years (from 1992 to 2008). In 2009, Runnicles became Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, which he helmed until 2016. At the same time, in 2009, he began his tenure as General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, which he has since extended until 2022. Donald Runnicles is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival in Wyoming. As an opera conductor, he has additionally appeared at the Glyndebourne, Edinburgh, and Salzburg festivals; the Metropolitan Opera in New York; La Scala in Milan; the Opéra national de Paris; and the Vienna and Bavarian Staatsoper companies. On the concert podium, Runnicles, who focuses primarily on the late Romantic repertoire, has collaborated with the Chicago and Boston Symphonies as well as the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras. In Europe, he has given concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the Staatskapelle Dresden, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Donald Runnicles holds the Order of the British Empire and honorary doctorates from the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

October 2018