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German conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing is among the most versatile and cultivated musical artists of his generation. Fluent in multiple languages, interested in a wide range of repertoire, and equally experienced in orchestra culture and opera theatre, his dynamic performances have garnered praise from the international press: “[The] performance’s sophistication and sensuality comes from the pit” (Los Angeles Times); “The evening’s musical interpretation under the baton of conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing won generous applause.” (Berliner Zeitung); “The orchestra sparkles and glows under the heated conducting of Sebastian Lang-Lessing. Viva Carmen!” (Houston Press); “The orchestra excelled, finding what sounded like an extra dose of inspiration in conductor Sebastian Lang-Lessing, who relished every prismatic detail in Verdi's score as he applied equal amounts of momentum and sensitivity to the performance” (Baltimore Sun).
Lang-Lessing started the 2012/13 season with conducting Orchestra Victoria at the newly renovated Hamer Hall in the Arts Centre Melbourne, presenting African Sanctus and excerps of the Mandela Trilogy with soloists from Cape Town Opera. Lang-Lessing’s upcoming concert dates include debuts with the Cincinnati Symphony (in a gala concert with Renee Fleming), Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Florida Orchestra, and Dallas Opera, in addition to return engagements with Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, and the Belgrade Philharmonic. He will also lead a revival of Wagner’s Rienzi at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in a production premiered two seasons ago under his musical direction.
In February 2010, Lang-Lessing was appointed music director of the San Antonio Symphony and began his tenure in the 2010/11 season; he is the orchestra’s eighth director in its 73-year history. In 2011 he finished his second season in San Antonio, which included all the Beethoven symphonies in two months with the orchestra. The highlights of the 2012/13 with San Antonio Symphony include a Brahms Festival with soloists Kirill Gerstein, Vadim Gluzman and Jian Wang, a celebration of the Verdi/Wagner anniversaries and solo appearances by Ewa Kupiec, Ana Maria Martinez and Michel Dalbierto. He also served as chief conductor and artistic director of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra from 2004 to 2012.
Lang-Lessing regularly appears on the podiums of the world’s preeminent opera houses, including the Paris Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Opera Colorado, Bordeaux Opera, Washington National Opera, Hamburg State Opera, and in Oslo and Stockholm. He has a particularly close connection with Cape Town Opera, having conducted many performances in Cape Town and on tour with the company. Among his recent opera engagements was a highly acclaimed new production of Wagner’s Rienzi with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the DVD of which was released by Unitel. Other recent engagements include Falstaff at Washington National Opera, Les Pêcheurs de Perles and La Bohème with Opera Colorado and Porgy and Bess at Norwegian National Opera in Oslo.
Lang-Lessing was awarded the Ferenc Fricsay Prize in Berlin at the young age of 24, and he subsequently took up a conducting post at the Hamburg State Opera. His other previous posts include eight years as resident conductor at Deutsche Oper Berlin and chief conductor and artistic director of the Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy for seven years. Under Maestro Lang-Lessing’s direction, the Nancy Opera was elevated to national status, becoming the Opéra National de Lorraine. His early music studies were at the Hamburg State Conservatory.
Equally renowned for his work on the concert stage, Lang-Lessing has led performances with major orchestras across the globe, including the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre de Toulouse, Orchestre de Bordeaux, Orchestre de l'Opéra de Lyon, Orquesta Filarmonica Malaga and top orchestras in Australia, among others.
Sebastian Lang-Lessing also has an extensive discography with the Tasmanian Symphony, highlighted by the complete symphonies of Mendelssohn and Schumann, as well as recordings of music by Saint-Saëns, d’Indy, Franck, Ravel, Bruch and Australian contemporary composer Brett Dean. Further recordings with the orchestra include Mozart’s three final symphonies; a disc featuring pianist Kirill Gerstein in the piano concertos of Ravel and Mendelssohn; and a recording of Grieg’s Peer Gynt and Holberg Suites. Lang-Lessing is also well known for his rediscovery of the music of French composer Joseph-Guy Ropartz; CD releases of his symphonies with Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy received critical acclaim.