top of page

Meet our Jury members

Oliver von Dohnányi

Conductor & Opera director


Oliver von  Dohnányi was born in Trencin, Slovakia, into a musical family. He studied violin, composition and conducting at the Prague Academy for Music under Professor Vaclav Neumann and Alois Klima, and at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna under Professor Otmar Suitner, taking masterclasses with famous conductors Franco Ferrara, Arvid Janssons and Igor Markevich.

He made his debut, with the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra in Bratislava, in 1979 and continued to conduct this orchestra regularly until 1986, which included many recordings not only for Slovak National Radio, but also for the Naxos Records Marco Polo imprint, Supraphon, Panton, Verga and Opus labels. From 1978 he worked extensively with the chamber ensemble Canticorum Iubilo, with which he toured Spain, Belgium, Sweden and the USSR.

During 1986-1991, he was principal conductor of the Slovak National Opera, where he enlarged the Opera's repertoire with the scenic works of Borodin, Puccini, Bellini, Rossini, Smetana and Verdi, as well as conducting the company in an award-winning production of Faust at the Edinburgh Festival (1990). He performed with the Slovak National Theatre Opera ensemble in Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Hungary, Russia and China. Other appearances abroad have included visits to the Salzburg Festival, the ENO (where he has conducted Falstaffand Mefistofele), Opera North in Leeds (Carmen, The Bartered Bride, La Gioconda, Hamlet), the Teatro S Carlo in Naples and opera houses in Basle, Dusseldorf, Vienna, Zurich and Wexford. He has also appeared with the English Chamber Orchestra

and the Y omiuri Nippon SO in Japan. His reputation is based above all on music ofthe late 19th and 20th centuries, and his recordings include music by Liszt and Rubinstein, Odysseus by Michael Kocab and an acclaimed performance of Smetana's Libuse.

He has won distinctions in a number of competitions including the "Resphigi Competition" in Siena, the "Talich Competition of the Prague Spring" and the same award from Hungarian television in 1985 and the special prize at the 1989 Salzburg Festival for the television recording of Juraj Filas' s opera Memento with the Prague Symphony Orchestra.

During 1993-1996, Oliver von Dohnanyi became the principal conductor of the Opera of the National Theatre in Prague. His production enriched the Theatre's repertoire with the scenic works of Smetana, Gounod, Puccini, Verdi, Prokofiev, and Mozart. He toured Japan in 1995 and 1997 with the

extraordinarily successful production of Mozart's Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro. Since 1997 he has regularly worked with the English National Opera in London, where he conducted with much success, operas by Verdi (Falstaff) and Boito (Mejistoftle).

Since 2000, Oliver von Dohminyi has co-operated intensively with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra. He is a regular guest conductor of the Opera Leeds, with which he produced operas by Bizet, Ponchielli, Thomas, Smetana (the "Best Production" of 1998). He has also been invited to Opera houses in Basil, ZUrich, Vienna, Osaka, Kassel, Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Oviedo, Naples, Wexford, Copenhagen, London, Prague and Brno.

Oliver von Dohnanyi has conducted premiere performances of works by several Czech and Slovak composers (e.g. Petr Eben, Juraj Filas) and his recording of the opera "Memento mori" by Juraj Filas with the FOK Symphony Orchestra in Prague became a prize holder at the important television-festival in Salzburg. In May 2002, he conducted and recorded the premiere of three of Marian Budos works.

His production of Gounod's Faust was famous not only in former Czechoslovakia, but has been highly praised in Hungary, Israel and Great Britain. This production has been awarded the Critic's Prize in the category of music at the Edinburgh Festival. At the same time, he also worked with the Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra in Bratislava. With this ensemble, he gave a number of concerts in Slovakia consequently touring Switzerland and Russia. He also released some recordings with the Capella Istropolitana ensemble and conducted this chamber orchestra at concerts in Slovakia, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Oliver von Dohnanyi's operatic engagements include Carmen, La Gioconda, Hamlet and The Bartered Bride for Opera North, Falstaff and Mejistoftle for English National Opera, Der Widerspenstigen Zahmung at the Wexford Festival, Aida at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, DUsseldorf, II Barbiere di Siviglia and II Turco in Italia at the State Opera in Prague. The Bartered Bride at the Janacek Opera Brno, the world premiere of Golem by Hanus Barton, Don Giovanni, The Specter's Bride in Ostrava, La Boheme and La Traviata in Osaka, The Flying Dutchman in Kassel. Mejistoftle in Basle, Rusalka in ZUrich, a concert performance of Ernani with the English Chamber Orchestra at the Barbican in London, Tosca and Die Lustige Witwe for Reisopera, Falstaffand Jenufa for the Royal Danish Theatre, Copenhagen, a concert performance of Libuse for the Edinburgh International Festival, Ariadne Auf Naxos for the Britten-Pears School, Aldeburgh, Macbeth and Romeo et Juliette for Badisches Staatstheater, Karlsruhe. He has also conducted a Ballet Evening at the Vienna Staatsoper, Alexander Nevsky at the Teatro San Carlo Naples, Prokotiev's Cinderella, A Midsummer Night's Dream and the premiere of In the Blue Garden for the Bayerisches Staatsballett, Munich, and Romeo and Juliet (Prokotiev) in ZUrich.

Mr.Dohnányi served as the music director of the Czech National Theatre in Prague, Intendent/Artistic Director of the Opera of the Slovak National Theatre in Bratislava, Intendent/Artistic Director of the Opera of the Moravian-Silesian National Theatre in Ostrava, and principal conductor of the Slovak Sinfonietta.

In 2018, Dohnányi received the biggest Russian theatrical award, The Golden Mask, with the title "Best Conductor".

Dohnányi is also a member of the well-known Dohnányi family, a notable Hungarian family of politicians and musicians.

bottom of page