“She is an inquisitive artist who knows how to motivate an orchestra while simultaneously demanding the highest standards. She can immerse herself in the intricacies of sound color but also knows when to let go.” This was the opinion of the jury from the magazine “Opernwelt” in the autumn of 2019 when they named 33-year-old conductor Joana Mallwitz “Conductor of the Year”.
Mallwitz, who since the 2018/2019 season has been General Music Director of the Nuremberg State Theater, is celebrated by critics as an “extraordinarily talented conductor” able from her position in the orchestra pit to shape and animate the musical action like a “stage director in sound” (Reinhard J. Brembeck in the Süddeutsche Zeitung). Born in the German city of Hildesheim, Mallwitz received her musical training at the Hochschule for Theater and Media in Hanover, where at the age of only 13 she was accepted into the school’s institute for highly gifted young artists. She studied conducting with Martin Brauß and Eiji Oue as well as piano with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling and Bernd Goetzke. In 2009, she was awarded the Praetorius Music Prize of the state of Lower Saxony.
In 2014, Mallwitz became General Music Director of Theater Erfurt, the youngest person in Europe to hold such a position. In addition to preparing substantial new productions, she founded the Orchestra Academy of the Erfurt Philharmonic Orchestra and established a composer-in-residence program, “Erfurts Neue Noten”. She also developed the popular Expedition Concerts, where in a dual role as conductor and moderator at the piano she introduced audiences to works from the symphonic literature.
In 2018, Joana Mallwitz brought this successful format to her new artistic home at the Nuremberg State Theater, where in her first season as General Music Director she was responsible for new productions of Prokofiev’s “War and Peace” and Wagner’s “Lohengrin” that were enthusiastically received by critics from throughout Germany.
There followed her debuts at the Bavarian State Opera (“Eugene Onegin” and “L’elisir d’amore”) and the Oslo Opera (“Der Rosenkavalier”). She has conducted concert programs with orchestras such as the Symphony Orchestra of the Hessian Radio, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra of London, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra and Kremerata Baltica.
With last year’s production of “Così fan tutte“ in Salzburg, directed by Christof Loy, she became the first female conductor in the history of the Salzburg Festival to be entrusted with an entire production. Highlights of the coming season include a new production of Monteverdi`s “L’Orfeo” in Nuremberg and her debut at the Vienna State Opera with a performance series of “Madama Butterfly”.