The Austrian conductor Johannes Wildner, whose career extends across almost the whole or Europe and includes symphonic and operatic aspects, has an unusual background: he spent the first part of his career as an orchestral violinist before turning to conducting. Wildner was born in 1956 in Mürzzuschlag, Austria. As a university student in Vienna and in Parma, Italy, he explored conducting, violin, and musicology. He played the violin first and spent some years in the renowned violin sections of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. His first chief conductor position was with the Slovak State Philharmonic Orchestra, Košice, from 1990 to 1993. From there he moved on to the Prague State Opera (1994-1995) and the Leipzig Opera (1996-1997). From 1997 to 2007, Wildner was general music director of the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Westphalia in Germany. From 2010 to 2014, he was principal guest conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra in London, and since 2014 he has been director of the Opera Burg Gars Festival in Austria, where he has led performances of Weber's Der Freischütz, Verdi's Don Carlos and Otello, and, in 2017, Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. He has also held recurring positions with the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Vienna and has toured Mexico with that group. Wildner has been an unusually indefatigable and peripatetic guest conductor, with his long list of appearances including those at the Royal Philharmonic and London Philharmonic in London, the Russian State Symphony Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in Russia, and ensembles in Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, Ireland, Croatia, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, as well as in Germany and his native Austria. His large catalog of recordings, numbering over 100, has appeared predominantly on the Naxos, Dutton Laboratories, and CPO labels; on CPO he issued a recording of Johann Nepomuk David's Symphony No. 2 and Symphony No. 4 with the ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien in 2018. Since 2014, Wildner has served as professor of conducting at the Music University of Vienna. ~ James Manheim
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