The German conductor and pianist, Ingo Metzmacher, is the son of the cellist Rudolf Metzmacher and the research biologist Lore Schoen. His musical education in piano, music theory and conducting was in Hannover, Salzburg and Cologne.
Ingo Metzmacher found his first artistic home in Frankfurt, with the Ensemble Modern, to which he joined in 1981 as its pianist, and became the orchestra's conductor in 1985, as well ass the Frankfurt Opera under the artistic directorship of Michael Gielen. He His international career began in 1988, during Gerard Mortier's tenure as director of the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels, when he stepped in to conduct a new production of Franz Schreker's Der ferne Klang.
In 1994, Ingo Metzmacher conducted the premiere of the revised version of Hans Werner Henze's Symphony No. 6. In 1997, he conducted the world premiere of Henze's Symphony No. 9 at the composer's request. In 1997 he was appointed General Music Director of the Hamburg Opera, where in the course of the next eight seasons (until 2005) he conducted a series of internationally acclaimed productions, many of them in collaboration with stage director Peter Konwitschny. His post in Hamburg also covered the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg.
In 2005, Ingo Metzmacher became Chief Conductor of De Nederlandse Opera (Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam). In February 2007, De Nederlandse Opera announced that Metzmacher would step down from his post as DNO's Chief Conductor in 2008. From 2007 to 2010 he was the Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO-Berlin). His thematic concert cycles during this time entitled ›From The German Soul‹, ›Breakthrough 1909‹ and ›Temptation‹ as well as a series of ›Casual Concerts‹ moderated by himself made a lasting impact on Berlin's music life. His original contract with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin was through 2011. However, after reports of disputes over financing and a threatened reduction in the size of the orchestra, in March 2009, Metzmacher announced his early resignation from the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin principal conductorship as of the summer of 2010. His final concerts as the orchestra's principal conductor were in June 2010 in Berlin and in August 2010 at The Proms. In February 2015 he was appointed Intendant of the Hanover based multi art festival Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen from 2016.
Ingo Metzmacher has worked regularly at the Salzburg Festival, the Grand Théâtre de Genève, the Zürich Opera House, the Holland Festival, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in London, the Wiener Staatsoper and Berlin State Opera. In concert he appeared with leading orchestras including the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, New Japan Philharmonic, Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden & Freiburg, Orchestre de Paris, Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester, Russian National Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Ingo Metzmacher's discography includes live recordings of his New Year's Eve concerts in Hamburg from 1999 to 2004, entitled "Who is afraid of 20th Century Music?", a complete recording of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's symphonies with the Bamberger Symphoniker, the world premiere of Hans Werner Henze's Symphony No. 9 with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Olivier Messiaen's Illuminations of the Beyond… with the Wiener Philharmoniker, Hans Pfitzner's Von deutscher Seele and Engelbert Humperdinck's Königskinder with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and a live recording of Dmitri Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mzensk from the Wiener Staatsoper. Available on DVD are the Salzburg Festival productions of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten from 2012, Wolfgang Rihm’s Dionysos from 2010 and Fierrabras by Franz Schubert, the Zürich Opera House production of E. Humperdinck’s Königskinder, Pierre Audi's Grammy-nominated production of Saint François d'Assise by Olivier Messiaen for the Holland Festival 2008 and the Amsterdam productions of W.A. Mozart's Da Ponte operas directed by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito. His discography also includes: Alban Berg: Wozzeck; Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (Ian Bostridge, tenor; Marie Luise Neunecker, horn); Luigi Nono: Prometeo; Richard Strauss: Horn Concertos; Hans Werner Henze: Requiem (Sony Classical); John Cage: Sixteen Dances for Soloist and Company of 3 (RCA); Charles Ives: Songs/Orchestral Sets/From The Steeples and Mountains (EMI).
In his book Vorhang auf! Oper entdecken und erleben, published in 2009, Ingo Metzmacher presents operas from four centuries and explains the making of a music theatre production. He is also the author of Keine Angst vor neuen Tönen, published in 2005, a passionate plea for pioneering composers such as Luigi Nono, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Arnold Schoenberg, Edgard Varèse, Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage.