One of the great masters of the music of the German tradition, Marek Janowski is recognised throughout the world for his interpretation of Wagner, Strauss, Bruckner, Brahms, Hindemith and the Second Viennese School, and has an extensive and distinguished discography in this repertoire. His Wagner opera cycle with the Rundfunk- Sinfonieorchester Berlin was held to have set a new standard of performance in concertante opera. BBC Music Magazine called the live recording on Pentatone “the sound of a Ring for the 21st century."
Marek Janowski enjoys an outstanding reputation amongst the premier orchestras across the globe and regularly works with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Bayreuth Festival and Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Oslo Philharmonic, NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Opera Nomori and in the USA, the San Francisco Symphony, Chicago SO, National Symphony Orchestra amongst others.
Lauded for his ability to create orchestras of international standing, he has been sought after as Music Director and Chief Conductor. Most recently, he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, both from 2019 to 2023 and beforehand from 2001 to 2003, and will return as guest conductor for a number of projects in the coming seasons. Previously, from 2002 until 2016 he was Artistic Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and from 2000 to 2005 he served as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo. Between 1984 and 2000, as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Marek Janowski took the orchestra to a position of pre-eminence in France, as well as abroad. From 1986 to 1990, in addition to his position in Paris, Janowski held the title of Chief Conductor of the Gürzenich- Orchester in Cologne and between 1997 and 1999, he was also First Guest Conductor of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin.
Born in Warsaw and educated in Germany, Marek Janowski’s artistic path led him from Assistant positions in Aachen, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Hamburg to his appointment as General Music Director in Freiburg im Breisgau (1973-75) and Dortmund (1975-79). Whilst in Dortmund, his reputation grew rapidly, and he was invited to conduct in many of Europe’s leading opera houses. He has been a regular guest at every world-renowned opera house since the late 1970s, from the Metropolitan Opera New York to the Bayerischer Staatsoper Munich; from Chicago and San Francisco to Hamburg; from Vienna and Berlin to Paris. From the 1990s on, Janowski began to concentrate on the great German symphonic repertoire for which he enjoys an outstanding reputation.
Janowski’s distinguished discography, built over the past 40 years, includes the iconic recording of the Wagner’s Ring Cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden (1980-83). It also includes several other complete operas and symphonic cycles, such as his Bruckner cycle with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, recorded for Pentatone, many of which have been awarded international prizes. Further acclaimed releases on Pentatone include Carl Maria von Weber’s ‘Der Freischütz’, recorded alongside Lise Davidsen and Andreas Schager as well as the Frankfurt Radio Symphony and MDR Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Beethoven symphonies Nos. 5 & 6 with WDR Symphony Orchestra and, most recently, Schubert’s Unfinished and Great symphonies with Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. Verdi’s ‘Un ballo in maschera’ with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir, and a stellar cast, headed by Freddie De Tommaso, Lester Lynch and Saioa Hernández received 5 star reviews and was recently selected as the Opera Choice in the September 2023 issue of BBC Music Magazine.
WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra
Orchestre National de France
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France
Orchestre de Paris
Budapest Festival Orchestra
NHK Symphony Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra
San Francisco Symphony
National Symphony Orchestra Washington
Bayreuth (Wagner cycle)
Tokyo Opera Nomori (Wagner cycle)
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (Wagner cycle)
Take it from this listener: his Beethoven soared. Under Janowski, Symphony No. 1 – last heard here a decade ago – abounded in both zeal and transparency. Together, conductor and ensemble reached that perfect middle ground between tightness and rigidity.
Every so often a CD comes along that is just about perfect. That is how I feel about the new Bruckner Fourth from Marek Janowski and the Suisse Romande. It is swift and graceful, like the old Kertész, recorded in limpid perspective, with sound that ranges from gleaming to glowing…Here is the best all-around Bruckner Fourth I know.
BBC Music Magazine
[Wagner] displays remarkable feats of counterpoint and colouring which Janowski brings off to thrilling effect: listen to the short but dense Prelude and you’ll hear many things that you won’t have heard on any other recording, combined with terrific drive.