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First Woman to Lead A Berlin Orchestra in City’s History

By Sara Schabas on October 16, 2023

Joana Mallwitz
Photo: Simon Pauly/KonzerthausBerlin

Joana Mallwitz will be the chief conductor at Berlin’s Konzerthaus.

What’s Up: Germany’s Joana Mallwitz has been appointed chief conductor of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin. Mallwitz also received the Order of Merit of the Federal Government of Germany two weeks ago, awarded by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Refresher: The pianist and conductor Joana Mallwitz, 37, has been hailed as the “next big thing” in classical music. Her appointment as artistic director of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin follows her work over the past five years as General Director of the Staatstheater Nürnberg. She has conducted to widespread acclaim at the Salzburger Festspiele, the Royal Opera House, and the Bavarian State Opera, among others organizations. In 2019, she was named “Conductor of the Year” by Opernwelt Magazine.

Why It Matters: Joana Mallwitz is the first woman to lead a major orchestra in Berlin. In 2020, she was also the first woman to completely oversee a production at the Salzburger Festspiele, where she conducted Così fan tutte.

Her appointment in Berlin contrasts the appointment of the 64-year-old Christian Thielemann, who will take over as conductor of the Berlin Staatsoper unter den Linden from Daniel Barenboim.

Sara Schabas
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