Sir Donald Runnicles © Chris Lee

Sir Donald Runnicles


Sir Donald Runnicles has been General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (DOB) since 2009, Music Director of the Grand Teton Music Festival since 2005 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in its last season since 2001. Runnicles has also been Principal Guest Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra since 2019, the first orchestra ever to do so. He is Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, having served as Principal Conductor from 2009 to 2016.

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

Sir Donald maintains close and enduring relationships with many of the world's major opera houses and symphony orchestras. Previously he was Music Director of San Francisco Opera (1992-2008), where he led the world premieres of John Adams' Doctor Atomic, Conrad Susa's Les Liaisons dangereuses and the US premiere of Messiaen's Saint François d'Assise, Principal Conductor of the Orchestra of St Luke's (2001-2007) and Music Director of the Freiburg Theatre and its Orchestra (1989-1993).  

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

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

concerts featuring Sir Donald Runnicles