Johannes Fritzsch has been named as Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s new Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser.

The appointment of Maestro Fritzsch – who has been QSO’s Conductor Laureate since 2015 – was announced on stage last night when he conducted QSO’s Arabian Nights concert at QPAC.

QSO has been without a Chief Conductor since charismatic Mexican Maestra Alondra de la Parra left the orchestra at the end of 2019 after deciding not to extend her three-year contract as Music Director. It is expected that a Chief Conductor will be announced during 2023. In the meantime, Fritzsch will be the orchestra’s artistic head.

Maestro Johannes Fritzsch, Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s new Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser. Photograph © Peter Wallis

“The appointment of Maestro Fritzsch as QSO’s new Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser extends until 2023, and we are thrilled and honoured that he has agreed to return to the fold to provide the orchestra with outstanding and unequalled artistic leadership,” said QSO Chair Chris Freeman.

“Maestro Fritzsch remains integral to the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. He is one of the great musical leaders, a conductor we can credit with building the QSO into the world class orchestra it is today.”

Born in Germany and now based in Australia, Fritzsch has a close relationship with the QSO, where he was Chief Conductor from 2008 to 2014. During his seven-year tenure, he led the orchestra through a period of rapid artistic growth. When he first took to the podium as Chief Conductor in March 2008, the QSO had recently amalgamated with the Queensland Philharmonic Orchestra. Fritzsch raised musical standards at the newly formed orchestra, initially known as The Queensland Orchestra, and when he left the position he was appointed Conductor Laureate.

“I feel honoured and excited to take the helm of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra again – an ensemble I got to know intimately during my time as Chief Conductor. I enjoy working with this outstanding group of musicians so much; I am looking forward to some great years of collaboration with the players, the Management and Board,” said Maestro Fritzsch.

Fritzsch was born in 1960 in Meissen, near Dresden, Germany, where he completed his musical education. He has conducted many leading orchestras, both within Germany and internationally, giving many notable performances of the Austro-Germanic repertoire, especially the works of Strauss, Mahler and Wagner.

He regularly conducts the major Australasian orchestras and has led productions for Opera Australia, Opera Queensland, West Australian Opera and State Opera South Australia.

Since 2018, he has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, the TSO invited him to design and lead the newly founded Australian Conducting Academy.

In January 2015, he was appointed Adjunct Professor, The Conservatorium of Music, School of Creative Arts and Media at the University of Tasmania, and in June 2019, he joined the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University as Professor of Opera and Orchestral Studies.

Previous appointments include Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Oper Graz, Grazer Philharmonisches Orchester in Austria from 2006 to 2013; Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Staatsoper Nürnberg from 2005 to 2006; and Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Städtische Bühnen and the Philharmonic Orchestra in Freiburg from 1993 to 1999.

In 2020, Fritzsch thrilled QSO audiences when he led performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 and the Emperor Piano Concerto with soloist Daniel de Borah. This year, his appearances include Arabian Nights (19–20 February) Enigma (9–10 April) and Breathtaking Tchaikovsky (6–7 August).

Johannes Fritzsch conducts the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Arabian Nights concert on 20 February at 3pm and 7.30pm

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