Günther Herbig

Principal Guest Conductor

Günther Herbig

Günther Herbig has established himself as a prominent conductor in the international music world in particular building a strong career in America since 1980. After being Music Director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for six years he was then the Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for 5 years, a position he gave up in 1994 so as to enable him to work in Europe more often. He continues to live in Michigan.

Günther Herbig began his musical training with Hermann Abendroth at the FranzLisztAcademy in Weimar. He continued his studies with Hermann Scherchen, and was one of only a few students chosen for intensive study with Herbert von Karajan, with whom he worked for two years. In 1972 he became General Music Director of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, and from 1977 held the same position with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra until autumn 1983 when he resigned and moved to America.

Because of the political situation in East Germany, Günther Herbig’s first opportunity in the West came quite late; he was invited to be Principal Guest Conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1979.

Since moving to the USA in 1984, he has appeared with all the great American Orchestras, the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony. He toured America several times with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and received high praise for the many performances they gave in New York’s Carnegie hall. In January 1989, he toured Europe with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra with Gidon Kremer as soloist to critical acclaim. In 1990, he toured the Far East with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In Spring 1991 Maestro Herbig toured Europe with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, his 37th international Orchestra Tour. From 1990 to 1997 he was the visiting Professor of Conducting at YaleUniversity, with a one week master class each term.

In West Europe, he started his career in Britain in 1979 when he was invited to become Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. It was only in 1984, after he had left East Germany, that Günther Herbig was able to have the opportunity to conduct regularly in Western Europe. Very quickly he was invited by major orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Since then he has conducted most of the major European Orchestras and has also toured Japan, South America and Australia many times.

He has recorded more than 100 works, some of which were with the East German orchestras with whom he was associated prior to moving to the West in 1984. Since then he has made recordings with several of the London orchestras, the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and others.

In 2001 he became the Chief Conductor of the Radio Symphony Orchestra Saarbrücken for three years in order to rebuild the Orchestra and bring it up to a higher level. This was successful with several concerts being shown on French and German TV, and he renewed the contract until 2006. Unfortunately the subsidies to all the German Radio Orchestras were substantially cut in 2005 and so Mr Herbig was unable to renew his contract after 2006.

A recent highlight of his career was his invitation to conduct at the 2001 Edinburgh Festival a duplicate of the exact programme that took place at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on 22 November 1808 when Beethoven presented (and conducted) his Pastoral Symphony. This three hour programme devised by Beethoven was Symphony No. 6, Ah! Perfido, Gloria from the C Major Mass, Piano Concerto No. 4, Symphony No. 5, Sanctus from the C Major Mass and Choral Fantasia. This programme was also shown on BBC Television.

Günther Herbig is Principal Guest Conductor of the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria since the 2006-2007 season.