Cornelius Meister
Cornelius Meister © Nancy HorowitzArtist

„Meister phrased the music with tenderness and old-world geniality ...“

The Washington Post
11 / 23


Cornelius Meister, born in Hanover in 1980, was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) in 2010. In Vienna, in 2016, he received an International Opera Award for the best production of the season with Peter Grimes. Having been appointed by the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, as Principle Guest Conductor starting in the season 2017/18, he will also begin his tenure as General Music Director at the Stuttgart State Opera and Stuttgart State Orchestra, effective 2018.

He conducts a wide range of concert and operatic repertoire, including standard works (such as Der Ring des Nibelungen as well as the complete Bruckner and Mahler symphonies), rarely performed works (such as the complete Martinů symphonies), collaborations with period orchestras (Die Zauberflöte at the Zurich Opera) and numerous world premieres.


In addition to subscription concerts at the Vienna Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Cornelius Meister conducts the RSO on tours to Asia and throughout Europe, including the Salzburg Festival and the Berlin Philharmonie. All concerts are broadcast on radio and Internet, and some are shown on television. He has made many CD recordings of works ranging from Haydn to world premieres.

He has conducted the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington), Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra (New York), Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (Rome), Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin as well as the BR, NDR and SWR radio symphony orchestras.

Cornelius Meister made his debut at the Hamburg State Opera at the age of 21. Engagements followed at the Bavarian State Opera (Munich), Deutsche Oper Berlin, Semperoper Dresden, Theater an der Wien (Vienna), New National Opera (Tokyo), San Francisco Opera and Royal Danish Opera (Copenhagen). Since 2012, he has conducted at the Vienna State Opera (Mozart, Wagner and Richard Strauss), since 2014, at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London (Mozart and Puccini); and since 2015, at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala (world premiere of an opera by Giorgio Battistelli for the Milan Expo). During the 2016/17 season, he will appear at the Vienna State Opera (Fidelio), conduct new productions in Antwerp (Der fliegende Holländer) and Zurich (Werther) and make his debut at the Glyndebourne Festival (Ariadne auf Naxos).

Cornelius Meister studied piano and conducting in Hanover with Konrad Meister, Martin Brauß   and Eiji Ōue and at the Mozarteum Salzburg with Dennis Russell Davies, Jorge Rotter and Karl Kamper. General Music Director in Heidelberg from 2005 to 2012, Cornelius Meister received an award for the “best German concert programme” in 2007 and has since received several awards for his educational projects. He has appeared as a pianist in Europe and the United States and conducted from the keyboard piano concertos by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Grieg, Gershwin and Mendelssohn.

SEASON 2016/2017


“Cornelius Meister, the German conductor who made his NSO debut in 2014 and who proved, yet again, that he is the real deal, and someone to watch. […] He conducts with such fluidity and drive that the sheer volume he commands takes you by surprise: a tsunami that approaches smoothly and then bowls you over.”

Washington Post, Annette Midgette, 16.02.2017

“Mr. Meister was most impressive with the orchestra, offering, in addition to the Mozart overture and the Haydn concerto, a compelling performance of Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony.”

New York Times, James R. Oestreich, 06.08.2015

“Meister proved himself a master of conducting not just the players but the audience too. He managed to sustain ongoing tension between movements, even in the symphony. Mirabile dictu, the normally clap-happy summertime crowd remained silently, appreciatively attentive until the final cadence. For that alone, he earned his ultimate bravos.”

Financial Times, Martin Bernheimer, 05.08.2015

“Bruckners Erste in c-Moll gab dem Radio-Sinfonieorchester Wien unter Cornelius Meister Gelegenheit, wieder seine außerordentlichen Qualitäten zu zeigen: technisch brillant, aber mit ruhiger Kraft. Im noch jungen Cornelius Meister (Jahrgang 1980) reift hörbar ein genuiner Bruckner-Dirigent heran.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Gerhard Rohde, 03.09.2014

“[...] much of the credit goes to the young German conductor Cornelius Meister making his Covent Garden debut. Meister's commitment shines through on every page. He grips the score impressively [….] and he elicits a rewarding evening of incisive playing from the orchestra. [...] He's one to follow.”

The Guardian, Martin Kettle, 10.07.2014

“[Cornelius Meister] led a powerful and emotional reading of the score, sympathetic to the singers’ needs, and at the service of Puccini: this was with-feeling, the emotions acted out on the stage being fed by the sounds from the pit.”

Classical Source, Kevin Rogers, 09.07.2014

“He is a real conductor, working hard to convey a stream of musical ideas, and with a good understanding of how best to elicit them from the players. [...] He conveys clearly what he wants just ahead of time.”

Washington Post, Robert Battey, 18.04.2014

“He knew what he wanted and where to go, and communicated his intentions clearly to the orchestra. In return, the NSO seemed to respond positively and with great joy, to his conducting.”

Communities Digital News, Terry Ponick, 18.04.2014

“Dieser Dirigent geht sorgsam mit der Musik um, er behütet sie, damit ihr Schatz funkeln darf und nicht durch plakative Behandlung zerstört würde.”

Mannheimer Morgen, Eckhard Britsch, 22.11.2013

“Wenn Cornelius Meister nach der Pause dann Brahms 2. Sinfonie dirigiert, mit expressiver aber nie exaltierter Gestik, sieht man einem Dirigenten zu, der ein Werk, das er wirklich liebt, einfach nur zu seinem eigenem Vergnügen genießen will. Was es dem Publikum leicht macht, es ihm gleich zu tun.”

Tagesspiegel, Frederik Hanssen, 24.09.2013

“Und Maestro Cornelius Meister war seinen Sängern an diesem Abend ein vollendeter Begleiter, dessen Anweisungen das gesamte Ensemble und das Orchester der Lettischen Nationaloper hörbar bereitwillig folgten.”

(über Wagner „Siegfried“), Online Merker, Harald Lacina, 07.06.2013

“Was gestern im goldglänzenden Großen Saal des Wiener Musikvereins zu Gehör kam, war von Anfang bis Ende hoch expressive Musik.”

Deutschlandradio, Sendung Kultur Heute, 06.04.2013, 17:30 Uhr

“In masterful fashion, the conductor ensured that each episode of this wild and crazy musical tale communicated vividly, while maintaining the firmness of the score's structure. The orchestra sounded terrific, whether adding fire to a crescendo or laying on subtle atmospheric coloring; brass and woodwind soloists made sizzling contributions.”

The Baltimore Sun, 27.10.2012

“Zuletzt Arnold Schönbergs Tondichtung „Pelleas und Melisande“ op. 5: Nicht nur hier begeisterte Chefdirigent Cornelius Meister mit seiner suggestiven gestalterischen Kraft, seiner Kunst der zwingend aufgebauten Steigerung und Höhepunkte. Neben berühmteren Namen zählt auch er zur imponierenden Riege junger exzellenter Dirigenten unserer Zeit.”

Wiener Zeitung, Gerhard Kramer, 10.05.2012

“Am Pult der Sächsischen Staatskapelle gibt Cornelius Meister sein Debüt. Ein grandioser Einstand [Berg’s Lulu].”

Dresdner Neue Nachrichten, 5.02.2012

“Drawing silken sound from the strings and burnished playing from the brass, Meister phrased the music [Brahms’ Second Symphony] with tenderness and old-world geniality, paying equal attention to the smallest moments and the longer musical paragraphs, and building to an exuberant crescendo to finish an uncommonly fine reading.”

The Washington Post, Joe Banno, 2.05.2011

Go back


Anton Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 "Romantic"Cornelius Meister conducts the RSO Vienna.Feb. 2013, Capriccio, CD, Available on: Amazon
Béla Bartok: Kossuth, Concerto for OrchestraCornelius Meister conducts the RSO Wien.Jan. 2013, cpo, CD, Available on: Amazon
my RSONarrated Adventures in Listening with the Vienna RSONov. 2012, ORF, CD
Calexico - Algiers (Limited Deluxe Edition)Calexico with RSO Vienna and Cornelius MeisterSep. 2012, City Slang/ Universal, CD, Available on: Amazon
Gottfried von Einem: Piano ConcertCornelius Meister, RSO Wien, Konstantin Lifschitz with works by Gottfried von EinemJan. 2010, ORFEO, CD, Available on: Amazon