Vita – short
(Can be used for booklets and programme brochures)
Theis launched his conducting career with the Austrian Chamber Symphony, where he served as both artistic director and general manager from 1991 to 2003—a period that witnessed intensive work on classical modernist, contemporary, and (later on) Viennese classicist repertoire. In 1996, after filling in on short notice at the Vienna Volksoper, he was appointed Kapellmeister there and remained for nearly four years. 1996 also saw him take part in an international conducting competition at the Darmstadt Summer Course for New Music where the jury, chaired by Péter Eötvös, awarded him the first prize.
His career then took him to numerous orchestras in Austria and abroad including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Sinfonieorchester Basel, the Bochum Symphony Orchestra, the Rheinland-Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra, the Warsaw Philharmonic, Germany’s SR (Saarbrücken/Kaiserslautern), WDR (Cologne), BR (Munich), NDR (Hannover), and MDR (Leipzig) radio orchestras, the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Bruckner Orchestra Linz, the Slovak Philharmonic, and many others.
From 2003 to 2013, Theis served as head conductor of the Dresden State Operetta, which was in the midst of a crisis when he arrived. His decidedly conceptual and visionary approach to their artistic work together subsequently helped this institution break into the recording market, brought about a gradually increasing number of guest appearances in renowned concert halls such as the Philharmonie in Cologne, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, and the Brucknerhaus in Linz, and drew repeated invitations to renowned festivals such as the Kurt-Weill-Fest in Dessau. 2011 witnessed a political decision to construct a new theatre, which was opened in December 2016—thus ensuring the survival of this institution.
After ten years in Dresden, Ernst Theis left his post in order to devote himself to new ideas—but he did remain true to his established concepts such as “RadioMusiken”, a project built around a series of recordings in collaboration with the Berlin’s Academy of the Arts, Deutschlandradio, Mitteldeutscher Runkfunk, and the German CD label CPO. He presented this project together with the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra at Leipzig’s tradition-steeped Gewandhaus in February 2020, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in April 2022; in Berlin in front of a sold-out audience.
Theis records for his CD label CPO with orchestras including the Deutsche Radiophilharmonie Saarbrücken Kaiserlautern, Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, Munich Radio Orchestra, and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. The artistic breadth of his work now ranges from early Viennese classicism to avant-garde repertoire, which he realises successfully with numerous orchestras on multiple continents.
Ernst Theis will make his debut appearance at the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) in June 2023.