Gielen Michael Andreas


# Title Year of Originsort icon Duration Instrumentation Category
1 Weitblick - Sonate für Cello-Solo, nach dem Trio "Rückblick" 1991 7m
2 Rückblick - Serenade für 3 Violoncelli 1989 11m
3 Pflicht und Neigung 1988 23m
4 Un vieux sou-venir - Streichquartett 1983 - 1985 38m
5 Mitbestimmungsmodell - für Orchestermusiker und drei Dirigenten 1971 35m
6 die glocken sind auf falscher spur - Melodramen und Zwischenspiele mit Gedichten von Hans Arp für sechs Musiker und Bänder 1970 30m
7 Un día sobresale/Ein Tag tritt hervor - Kantate für obligates Klavier, fünf Soloinstrumente und fünf Gruppen von je fünf Musikern 1961 - 1963 22m
8 Variationen für 40 Instrumente 1959 22m
9 Vier Chöre mit 19 Instrumenten - nach Gedichten von Stefan George 1955 - 1958 20m
10 Musica 1954 25m
11 Musik 1954 1954 25m
12 Sechs Lieder - für Baß und drei Instrumente 1951 - 1954 16m
13 Variationen über den Choral "Christus, der uns selig macht" - (Bearbeitung Johann Sebastian Bach) 1950 17m
14 Variationen für Streichquartett 1949 18m
15 Der Einsame 1948 4m
16 Musik für Klarinette, Viola und Fagott 1948 8m
17 Psalm 121 1947 9m
18 Sonate 1946 12m
19 Jesu, meine Freude - Collage über die Motette "Jesu, meine Freude" von Johann Sebastian Bach und Igor Strawinskys "Canticum sacrum" für Chor und Orchester ~ 25m
20 Einige Schwierigkeiten bei der Überwindung der Angst - Fixierte Fassung von "Mitbestimmungsmodell" mit nur einem Dirigenten

General Information

Year of Birth:  1927
Date of Birth:  20. July 1927
Place of Birth:  Dresden
Country of Birth: 

Born in Dresden in 1927, Michael Gielen comes from an artistic family, his father a director, his mother an actress, respectively. In 1938, at the time the National Socialists came into power, Gielen and his family emigrated to Buenos Aires, where he received piano lessons from 1940 onwards with Rita Kurzmann-Leuchter, and from 1942 onwards lessons in musicology under Dr. Erwin Leuchter. After finishing school in 1944, he studied philosophy for three more terms before ultimately turning to music producing his first compositions. In 1949, a piano recital during which he performed the complete piano works by Schönberg, gained him some reputation. In 1950 he returned to Europe and became an accompanist at the Vienna State Opera. This was followed by his first assignment as a conductor at the Vienna Konzerthaus in 1952 and another one at the Vienna State Opera, two years later. Gradually, Gielen established himself as a star in the sky of conductors in Europe and the USA, though he kept working further on his compositions. From the 1970s onwards, he worked for institutions, such as the Dutch National Opera, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Opera in Frankfurt, as Chief Guest Conductor for the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin State Orchestra, the State Opera Unter den Linden etc. As the director of the South-West German Radio Symphony Orchestra, he played an essential part in the success and continuance of the Donaueschingen Days of Music. Several prize-winning album recordings of Classical and contemporary music complete his oeuvre.


PeriodEducationInstrumentTeacherEducation OrganisationLocation
1940 - 1942

lessons with Rita Kurzmann-Leuchter

1940 - 1942

lessons with Hubert Brandenburg


music theory (Dr. Erwin Leuchter)

1944 - 1945

University of Buenos Aires: studies in philosophy


1947 - 1950

accompanist, collaboration with Kleiber, Furtwängler, Böhm etc.



1960 - 1965

Royal Opera: first conductor, co-operation with Ingmar Bergman

1968 - 1972

Belgian National Orchestra: principal conductor

1973 - 1975

Dutch National Opera: principal conductor

1977 - 1987

Opera Frankfurt: directorship and chief musical director

1978 - 1981

chief guest conductor

1980 - 1986

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra: music director, annual guest performances in New York

1986 - 1998

principal conductor

1987 - 1995

professorship for conducting

principal guest conductor

conductor in Austria and abroad

permanent guest conductor

Performances (Selection)


World Music Festival


World Music Festival


World Music Festival


World Music Festival


World Music Festival


portrait concert and reading on the occasion of his 80th birthday at the Kristallwelten Wattens


Schola Heidelberg, ensemble aisthesis, Spiegelsaal Prinz Carl Heidelberg: performance of several pieces on the occasion of Gielen's 80th birthday

Commissions (Selection)

PeriodCommissionCompositionCommissioner (Organisation)Commissioner (Person)

La Salle Quartett


PeriodAwardCompositionAwarding Organisation

Federal State of Hessen: State Prize for Culture


City of Frankfurt/Main: Theodor Adorno Award


recognition award for music


Federal Republic of Germany: Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany


recognition award for music


Cannes Classical Lifetime Achievement Award

honorary conductor

Opernwelt: voted conductor of the year by the magazine

Description of Style

"Post-serial". Heavily influenced by the Second Viennese School. The last movement of the sonata from 1946 is already in twelve-tone music. Particularly the "Variationen für Streichquartett" (variations for string quartets) from 1949 are heavily influenced by Berg (Wozzeck quote, regressiveness). Gradually a looser handling of the technique. The quartet 1983 ("Un vieux souvenir", 1983-1985) handles results as sound objects, in "Pflicht und Neigung" the quartet is used as "stone quarry".


Michael Gielen 1994

Contact, Links

Language:  German, English, Spanish