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 a production of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” in collaboration with the Theaterakademie München, composer portraits of Helmut Lachenmann and Anna Thorvadsdottir, tour concerts in Moscow with Igor Levit, Grenoble with François Leleux and two concerts at the Mozartfest Würzburg with Lise de la Salle and Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Soloists he works with in Munich include Isabelle Faust, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Antoine Tamestit, Dorothea Röschmann, Jean Guihen Queyras, Kian Soltani and Augustin Hadelich.

The 2018/19 season sees Schuldt make much anticipated returns to the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Philharmonia Orchestra with Kit Armstrong, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra with the premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Accordion Concerto, Swedish Chamber Orchestra and Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria. He makes his debut with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra with Baiba Skride, Lahti Symphony Orchestra with the requiems of Fauré and Mozart, Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra with Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 7 and Duisburger Philharmoniker with the Armida Quartett. In the USA, Schuldt makes his debut with North Carolina Symphony Orchestra performing Brahms’s Symphony No. 2.

Other European orchestras Schuldt has appeared with include the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Radio-Sinfonieorchesters of the SWR and ORF, Bamberger Symphoniker, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Norwegian National Opera Orchestra, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Orquesta Nacional de España and Orquestra Simfònica de Barcelona. Across the continents he has worked with Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Hong Kong Sinfonietta.

Opera is an integral part of Schuldt’s music making. For two seasons he was Conductor in Residence with the Staatstheater Mainz, where he led new productions of Bellini’s “Norma”, Gluck’s “Armide”, Gounod’s “Faust”, Verdi’s “Rigoletto” and conducted perfomances of Wagner’s “Flying Dutchman”. He conducted a new production of “Faust” at the Landestheater Innsbruck, lead a performance of Offenbach’s “Les contes d’Hoffmann” at the Theater Osnabrück and Dvořák’s “Rusalka” at the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen.

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, working with conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev and Sir Simon Rattle. 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.'