The Philharmonia Zurich is the orchestra of Zurich Opera House and has been conducted by General Music Director Fabio Luisi since 2012. Fabio Luisi was preceded in this capacity by Ralf Weikert, Franz Welser-Möst and Daniele Gatti. Many renowned conductors have regularly stood at the rostrum of the Philharmonia Zurich, exerting a decisive influence on the ensemble, which was formed in 1985 after the demise of the long-established Tonhalle- und Theaterorchester (TTO). These have included such luminaries as Alain Altinoglu, Marco Armiliato, Teodor Currentzis, Christoph von Dohnányi, John Eliot Gardiner, Bernard Haitink, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Ingo Metzmacher, Nello Santi and Simone Young. The Philharmonia Zurich’s repertoire runs the entire gamut of orchestral literature, ranging from baroque music to contemporary compositions. The Philharmonia Zurich can be heard at approximately 250 opera and ballet performances each season. In addition, the Philharmonic Concerts serve as a podium for the concert repertoire, while the ensemble’s artistic spectrum is complemented by chamber music concerts. One special feature of the Philharmonia Zurich is the “Orchestra La Scintilla”, a period ensemble consisting of members of the Philharmonia Zurich, who further enrich Zurich’s cultural scene with opera performances on historical instruments. The fruit of many years of collaboration with Nikolaus Harnoncourt, the “Orchestra La Scintilla” works with conductors such as William Christie, Marc Minkowski, Thomas Hengelbrock and Giovanni Antonini.
Fabio Luisi, General Music Director of Zurich Opera House, comes from Genoa. In 2011 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, having already served there as Principal Guest Conductor since September 2010. From 2005 to 2013 he was Chief Conductor of the Vienna Symphony. Previously, Fabio Luisi had been General Music Director of the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Saxon State Opera (2007–2010), Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the MDR Radio Symphony Orchestra Leipzig (1999–2007), and Music Director of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande (1997–2002). With the latter ensemble he made numerous CD recordings (Poulenc, Respighi, Mahler, Liszt; the entire symphonic oeuvre of Arthur Honegger; as well as Verdi’s Jérusalem and Alzira). Luisi was Chief Conductor of the Tonkünstler Orchestra Vienna (1995–2000) and Artistic Director of the Graz Symphony Orchestra (1990–1996). As a guest conductor, he has performed with the following ensembles: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra; Vienna Philharmonic; Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Philadelphia Orchestra; Cleveland Orchestra; San Francisco Symphony; Concertgebouw Orchestra; Staatskapelle Berlin; Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Orchestre de Paris; Philharmonia London; NHK Symphony, Tokyo; Munich Philharmonic; Santa Cecilia Orchestra, Rome; and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Fabio Luisi is also a frequent guest at the Vienna State Opera, the Bavarian State Opera, Munich, the Deutsche Oper, Berlin, as well as the Berlin State Opera. He débuted at the Salzburg Festival in 2002 with Richard Strauss’s Die Liebe der Danae, returning there the following year with the same composer’s Die Ägyptische Helena. Having first conducted at the Met in 2005 (Don Carlo), Fabio Luisi conducted new productions of Don Giovanni and Siegfried in 2011, and of Götterdämmerung in 2012, as well as directing Das Rheingold, Ariadne auf Naxos, Rigoletto and Massenet’s Manon there. He also gave his début performance with this opera at La Scala in Milan. Luisi débuted at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Aida, and at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu with Falstaff. He also conducted a tour of the United States with the Vienna Symphony. To date, Fabio Luisi has conducted new productions of Jenůfa, Rigoletto, Don Giovanni, La straniera, Fidelio and Aida, as well as revivals of Tosca, La bohème, Der Rosenkavalier and Don Carlo. His CD recordings include Verdi’s Aroldo, Bellini’s I puritani as well as all the symphonies and an oratorio, Das Buch mit sieben Siegeln, by the forgotten Austrian composer Franz Schmidt. There are also recordings of various symphonic poems by Richard Strauss and a much-lauded interpretation of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony with the Staatskapelle Dresden. Fabio Luisi won a Grammy for his recordings of Siegfried and Götterdämmerung with the orchestra of the Met. In 2013, he was awarded the Premio Franco Abbiati, the coveted Italian critics’ prize, and in 2014 the Grifo d’Oro of the City of Genoa.