Clemens Schuldt is one of the most exciting young conductors emerging from Germany today, and is the Principal Conductor of the Münchener Kammerorchester. Clemens Schuldt is widely praised for his innovative interpretations of classical and romantic Germanic repertoire, often using his creativity to include lesser known and contemporary repertoire in his programmes. Highlights of this season with the Münchener Kammerorchester include world premieres by Johannes Maria Staud, Vito Žuraj and Martón Illés’ violin concerto with Patricia Kopatchinskaja, composer portraits of Younghi Pagh-Paan, Klaus Huber and Johannes Maria Staud, and tour concerts opening the Kasseler Musiktage and the Philharmonie Cologne. Soloists he works with in Munich include Arabella Steinbacher, Alexander Melnikov, The King’s Singers as well as the Trondheim Voices.

The 2019/20 season sees Schuldt give his debut in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall with Augustin Hadelich, Orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin with Christian Tetzlaff, Bremer Philharmoniker with Frank Peter Zimmermann, Sinfonieorchester St. Gallen with Kian Soltani and the Tonkünstler-Orchester. He returns twice to the BBC Philharmonic including a programme with Dvořák’s Symphony No. 7 at Bridgewater Hall, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, l'Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Musikkollegium Winterthur and Swedish Chamber Orchestra. Across the continents he gives his debuts with the Oregon Symphony, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra and Xi’an Symphony Orchestra with Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Much anticipated opera highlights include his debut at Venice Biennale conducting George Benjamin’s opera “Written on Skin” with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai in September 2019 as well as his debut at Garsington Opera, conducting Mozart’s early opera “Mitridate” with The English Concert in Spring 2020, including Elizabeth Watts and Robert Murray. Last season Schuldt conducted a new production of “Così fan tutte” with the Münchener Kammerorchester in collaboration with the Theaterakademie to great critical acclaim. Schuldt was Conductor in Residence with the Staatstheater Mainz for two seasons, where he led new productions of Bellini’s “Norma”, Gluck’s “Armide”, Gounod’s “Faust”, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and conducted performances of Wagner’s “Flying Dutchman”. Prior to this he led performances at the Theatres of Innsbruck, Gelsenkirchen and Osnabrück.

Other European orchestras Schuldt has appeared with include the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, WDR Sinfonieorchester, SWR Symphonieorchester, and ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Bamberger Symphoniker, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia and Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona. Across the continents he has worked with North Carolina Symphony, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. Clemens Schuldt won the prestigious Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London in 2010 and was the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for one year. Born in Bremen, he studied the violin performing in the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, before taking up his conducting studies in Dusseldorf, Vienna and Weimar.

13 Questions for Clemens Schuldt

(from the brochure of the Munich Chamber Orchestra)

1. Are you more the sprinter or the endurance type?

'In the past I'd have said sprinter, but nowadays endurance.'

2. Fighter or gambler? 


3. Stereo or smartphone? How and where do you listen to music? 

'CD and Spotify. I still have a large CD collection that I listen to on my old stereo, which was once top of the range. Sadly I'm not at home much, but when I am, I listen to CDs a lot. With the score.'

4. Your favourite composer? 

'Oh that's easy... Schubert!' 

5. Is it important to identify emotionally with the music you perform? 

'Yes, but it's not always necessary. With some pieces, just mastering them is a pleasure, almost like a mathematical exercise. But of course it was the personal connection to music which led me to choose this profession.' 

6. You once said that young conductors have to 'do more' than old ones. Why? 

'It's difficult to dare to do less, to learn to trust. For a long time I had the impression that older conductors have more ‘pulling power’ than younger ones. Maybe it's a question of authority, and also status. The reduction of each gesture is something that has to be learned. It has to develop. But in the end it's something quite natural.' 

7. Is conducting actually done with the hands or the eyes? Or the soul?

'If the soul is the source, then it flows through the hands, and you can conduct with your eyes closed. But I very much like eye contact. I need it.'

8. Are rehearsals overrated?

'Definitely not. If, as a conductor, I consider rehearsals to be not a routine but an opportunity, then they are the most valuable thing of all.'

9. Can a conductor speak or should he just show everything with his hands? 

'It's my job to make people look. The more they realise how much I show, the less I need to speak. But I have to insist that they watch me.'

10. What annoys you about the classical music industry? 

'The encroaching superficiality, as seen in the dwindling courage to offer audiences something they don't already know.'

11. Do rituals bond audiences or not? 

'They both bond and bind. I find some worth preserving, such as the silence during concerts. Others, such as a strict dress code, are irrelevant to me as an artist. In an architectonic environment in which the arts are part of daily life, I'd find casual clothes perfectly acceptable for all kinds of music. People dress up less to go to the theatre than to go to the opera, and it doesn't seem to have done Shakespeare any harm.'

12. Which is your baton of choice? 

'Five years ago I tried out twenty different batons. Since then I've stuck to one particular model, Mollard. It sits well in the hand and isn't too long.'

13. When did you sense that conducting could be your thing?

'When I was about 25, during my first concert as a conductor. I experienced a completely unprecedented feeling of freedom and release on the stage, in contrast to the constant pressure that I knew as a violinist. Whilst conducting, this performance pressure diffused into a feeling of freedom and inspiration.'