For 18 years, Franz Welser-Möst has shaped an unmistakable sound culture as Musical Director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Under his leadership, the orchestra has been repeatedly praised by international critics for its musical excellence. Through innovative projects and co-operations, young audiences have been continuously approached and consulted and, as a result of these initiatives, 20% of all Cleveland Orchestra concertgoers are now under 25 years old. Throughout his tenure, he has continued the historical tradition of the Orchestra by having a strong presence of both newly-commissioned works from composers in residence and opera productions within the artistic programming. In addition to orchestral residencies in the USA, Europe and China, he and the Cleveland Orchestra are regular guests at all the major international festivals. His contract currently runs until 2027.
As a guest conductor, Franz Welser-Möst enjoys a particularly close and productive artistic partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic. He has twice appeared on the podium for their celebrated New Year’s Concert, and regularly conducts the orchestra in subscription concerts at the Vienna Musikverein, as well as on tours in Japan, China, Australia and the USA. Welser-Most and the Vienna Philharmonic have also performed together at historical memorial concerts in Sarajevo and Versailles.
Franz Welser-Möst is also a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival where he has set new standards in interpretation as an opera conductor with recent performances including Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier, Fidelio, Die Liebe der Danae, Aribert Reimann’s opera Lear and Richard Strauss’ Salome, with which he made festival history in 2018. In 2020 he conducted Strauss’ Elektra on the 100th Anniversary of its premiere, and was during that same period awarded the Ruby Festival Brooch. Franz Welser-Möst will return to Salzburg to conduct further performances of Elektra in 2021.
Franz Welser-Möst has been the recipient of a number of major honours and awards. He is Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Honorary Ring, and has been awarded the Kilenyi Medal of the Bruckner Society of America as well as the Kennedy Center Gold Medal in the Arts.
Immediately following its release in summer 2020, Franz Welser-Möst’s latest book, “Als ich die Stille fand. Ein Plädoyer gegen den Lärm der Welt”, became a No. 1 Austrian bestseller.
Franz Welser-Möst has made numerous CD and DVD recordings, including the recording of Der Rosenkavalier and Salome from the Salzburg Festival, and many of his recordings have won international awards. The most recent live recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra include a 3 CD box set “The Cleveland Orchestra – A New Century” – with compositions by Beethoven, Varèse, Strauss, Prokofiev, Johannes Maria Staud and Bernd Richard Deutsch.