Portrait of Franz Welser-Möst at the Attersee
© Julia Wesely

For 23 years, Franz Welser-Möst has shaped an unmistakable sound culture as Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Under his leadership, the orchestra has been repeatedly praised by international critics for its musical excellence. Through innovation and co-operations, the Cleveland Orchestra now has one of the youngest audiences in the USA. Throughout Franz Welser-Möst’s tenure, the orchestra has continued Its strong commitement to newly-written music and brought back opera to the stage of the Severance Music Center. In addition to orchestral residencies in the USA, Europe and China, he and the Cleveland Orchestra are regular guests at all the major international festivals. Franz Welser-Möst will remain Musical Director of the Cleveland Orchestra until 2027, the longest tenure of any Music Director the orchestra has had.

As a guest conductor, Franz Welser-Möst enjoys a particularly close and productive artistic partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic. He regularly conducts the orchestra in subscription concerts at the Vienna Musikverein, as well as on tours in Europe, Japan, China and the USA.  Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic have also performed together at historical memorial concerts in Sarajevo and Versailles. Franz Welser-Möst has appeared three times on the podium for their celebrated New Year’s Concert (2011, 2013, 2023). The 2023 New Year’s Concert was hailed by critics and audiences as one of the best in the concert’s history.

In the 2023/2024 season, Franz Welser-Möst is a featured Perspectives Artist at Carnegie Hall.  He will conduct a number of concerts across the season with the Cleveland Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic in a themed series entitled  “Fall of the Weimar Republic: Dancing on the Precipice”.

From 2010 to 2014,  Franz Welser-Möst was General Music Director of the Vienna State Opera, where, in addition to maintaining the broad repertoire of the House, he devoted himself in particular to the operas of the 20th century, including a special artistic focus on the operas of Leoš Janáček.

At the Salzburg Festival Franz Welser-Möst has set new standards in interpretation as an opera conductor with performances including Rusalka, Fidelio, Aribert Reimann’s opera Lear and Puccini’s Il Trittico. There has been a special focus on the operas of Richard Strauss, with Welser-Möst conducting  Der Rosenkavalier, Die Liebe der Danae, and the much lauded production of Salome, with which he made festival history in 2018. In 2020 and 2021 he conducted Strauss’ Elektra on the 100th Anniversary of the Salzburg Festival.

Franz Welser-Möst has been the recipient of a number of major honours and awards.  He is Honorary Member of the Vienna Philharmonic, Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, winner of the Vienna Philharmonic’s Honorary Ring, and has been awarded the Kilenyi Medal of the Bruckner Society of America as well as the Kennedy Center Gold Medal in the Arts. In 2020, Franz Welser-Möst was awarded the Salzburg Festival Pin with Ruby in and in 2021, he was awarded the Austrian Music Theatre Prize for Elektra at the Salzburg Festival in the “Best Musical Direction” category.

Immediately following its release in summer 2020, Franz Welser-Möst’s latest book, Als ich die Stille fand. Ein Plädoyer gegen den Lärm der Welt, became a No. 1 Austrian bestseller and is now published in its 7th edition. In 2021 the book was translated and published in English (From Silence: Finding Calm in a Dissonant World).

Franz Welser-Möst has made numerous CD and DVD recordings, including the recording of Der Rosenkavalier and Salome from the Salzburg Festival, and many of his recordings have won international awards. In the summer of 2022, the Vienna Philharmonic released a live recording of a concert at the Salzburg Festival with Richard Strauss‘ Rosenkavalier-Suite and Alpine Symphony in its Special Annual Edition series. 

In 2020, the Cleveland Orchestra founded its own streaming platform: adella.live. Various recordings from Severance Hall are available as stream, download and CD.