ConductorCornelius Meister
© Nancy HorowitzArtist

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

The Washington Post
11 / 23


Cornelius Meister, born in Hannover in 1980, was appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2010. Each season, he directs the orchestra in Vienna’s prestigious Musikverein as well as the Konzerthaus and in recordings and tours throughout Asia and Europe (Salzburg Festival, Berlin Philharmonie). A 24-piece CD box my RSO as well as a recording of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony and Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra were released last season.

Over recent seasons, Cornelius Meister has been guest conductor with major orchestras including Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra Washington DC, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain Paris, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia Rome, Tonhalle Orchester Zurich, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin as well as Deutsches Symphonie Orchester (DSO) Berlin, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (BR) Munich and Bamberg Symphony.

In the early years of his international career, Cornelius Meister appeared at many important opera houses: aged only 21, he gave his debut at the Hamburgische Staatsoper, followed by the Bayerische Staatsoper Munich, New National Opera Tokyo, San Francisco Opera, Theater an der Wien, Royal Opera House Copenhagen, the Latvian State Opera (Der Ring des Nibelungen) and Vienna State Opera. In July 2014, Cornelius Meister gave his debut at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with La Bohème.

In 2014 and 2015, Cornelius Meister is invited to conduct concerts with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra Tokyo, Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris, Konzerthausorchester Berlin and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. He will return to the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden (Tannhäuser), Opernhaus Zürich (Zauberflöte), Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Zauberflöte), Theater an der Wien (Peter Grimes) and Staatsoper Wien (Don Giovanni). In May 2015, he will give his debut at the Teatro alla Scala with the world premiere of G. Battistelli’s CO2.  

Cornelius Meister studied piano and conducting at Hannover University with Konrad Meister, Martin Brauß and Eiji Oue, as well as at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Dennis Russell Davies, Jorge Rotter and Karl Kamper. He also plays cello and horn. As a pianist, he has given concerts in Europe and the USA. Most recently, Cornelius Meister play-conducted works by Grieg, Liszt, Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue), Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Pärt (Credo). He is prize-winner of the “Deutscher Musikwettbewerb” as well as the “Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival”. From 2005 until 2012, Cornelius Meister held the position of music director of the city of Heidelberg.

SEASON 2014/2015


“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, 10.05.12

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

Dresdner Neue Nachrichten, 5.02.12

“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, 2.05.11

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