Donald Runnicles

Recipient of the 2009 San Francisco Opera Medal, Donald Runnicles served as music director and principal conductor of San Francisco Opera from 1992 to 2009. He first led the Company in two Ring cycles in 1990 and has since conducted more than sixty productions here, including the world premieres of Adams’s Doctor Atomic and Susa’s The Dangerous Liaisons; the West Coast premiere of Wallace’s Harvey Milk; the North American premiere of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise; and the 1999 and 2011 Ring cycles. The Maestro appears regularly at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh Festival, and he has built strong relationships as a guest conductor with the Bayreuth, Salzburg, and Glyndebourne festivals, as well as Vienna State Opera. He is currently chief conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony and general music director of Deutsche Oper Berlin. This past summer was his fourth season as music director of the Grand Teton Music Festival; he also serves as principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Born in Scotland, Runnicles studied at St. John’s College, Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh. He began his career as a répétiteur in Mannheim, becoming general music director at Freiburg State Theater in 1989. He made his North American debut in 1988 conducting Berg’s Lulu at the Metropolitan Opera. As principal guest conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he conducts four to six weeks each season and participates fully in the artistic planning of the orchestra. He has also conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, BBC Symphony, North German Radio Orchestra Hamburg, and the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, among others. His broad discography includes vocal and symphonic works ranging from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and highlights of Wagner’s Ring cycle, to Mozart’s Requiem. Maestro Runnicles was named Officer of the British Empire in 2004.