Donald Runnicles


Sir Donald Runnicles is the General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB) since 2009, Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival since 2005, and in his final season as Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony since 2001. Runnicles is also Principal Guest Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 2019, its first ever. He holds the title of Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, having served as Chief Conductor from 2009-2016.

In the 2022-23 season, Maestro Runnicles will lead new productions of Fidelio and Arabella at the DOB, along with revival performances of Elektra, Tosca, and Tristan und Isolde. For the San Francisco Opera, he leads a new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten in its centennial season. He will also conduct concerts with the Sydney Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic (debut), Minnesota Orchestra, and BBC Scottish.

Sir Donald enjoys close and enduring relationships with many of the most significant opera companies and symphony orchestras. His previous posts include Music Director of the San Francisco Opera (1992-2008), during which he led world premieres of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic, Conrad Susa’s Les Liaisons dangereuses, and the U.S. premiere of Messiaen’s Saint François d’Assise; Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s (2001-2007); and General Music Director of the Theater Freiburg and Orchestra (1989-1993).

Mr. Runnicles’ extensive discography includes recordings of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, Mozart’s Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Britten’s Billy Budd, Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel, Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Aribert Reimann’s L’invisible. His recording of Wagner arias with Jonas Kaufmann and the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin won the 2013 Gramophone prize for Best Vocal Recording, and his recording of Janáček’s Jenůfa with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin was nominated for a 2016 GRAMMY award for Best Opera Recording.

Sir Donald Runnicles was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was appointed OBE in 2004, and was made a Knight Bachelor in 2020. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.