BBC Music Magazine
Born 1927 Conductor, composer
Michael Gielen was a champion of new music, conducting countless premieres throughout his career. His began his musical life in Buenos Aires, studying as a pianist, and in 1950 moved to Austria where he worked at the Vienna State Opera. By 1960 Gielen had become closely affiliated with the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm where he gave the first performances of Ligeti’s Requiem and Stockhausen’s Carré. In 1977 he became music director of Frankfurt Opera and the following year took on the post of principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Before retiring in 2014 Gielen taught orchestral conducting at the Salzburg Mozarteum. From his twenties onwards he also composed, his style influenced by the Second Viennese School.