Will Humburg is currently Permanent Guest Conductor of the Bonn Opera and Regular Guest Conductor of the Cologne Opera, prior to which he served as Music Director at the Darmstadt State Theatre. After studying with Horst Stein and Christoph von Dohnányi in his hometown Hamburg he soon attained his first positions in Bremen and Hagen. Numerous opera and concert engagements established him as a sought-after guest conductor in Germany and abroad.
From 1988 to 1991 he was Artistic Director of the “Laboratorio Lirico” festival for contemporary music theater in Alessandria / Piemonte, where he led a number of world premieres and Italian premieres by Wolfgang Rihm, Siegfried Matthus, Peter Maxwell Davies and others. As Chief Conductor of the Münster Theatre Opera and the Münster Symphony Orchestra from 1992 to 2004 Maestro Humburg mounted a long series of stellar and nationally acclaimed productions. Highlights during his tenure in Münster include Wagner’s Ring cycle (1999/2001), as well as critically-acclaimed productions of “Le Grand Macabre” (Ligeti), “Don Carlo”, “Tristan und Isolde” and “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”.
Known for his dynamic interpretations and an outstanding stylistic authenticity, Humburg commands a broad-ranging repertoire covering over 120 musical works in concert and opera. Guest venues include the Teatro alla Scala, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Opera Houses of Dresden, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Weimar, Erfurt, Saarbrücken and Wiesbaden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Budapest State Opera (with which he also went on a tour to Japan with “Carmen“), the Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, the Teatro dell´ Opera di Roma, the Teatro Reggio Turin, the Arena di Verona, the Teatro Bellini Catania, the Teatro Lirico Cagliari, the Teatro Verdi Trieste, the Teatro Massimo Palermo, the Opera festivals of Menorca and Savonlinna (Finnland), the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron), the Academy of St. Cecilia Roma, the Verdi Festival in Busseto, the Crotian National Theatre, the Teatro della Maestranza Sevilla, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Orchestra Philharmonie Luxembourg, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Shanghai Opera House, as well as symphonic concerts with other German and Italian orchestras.
In his capacity as Permanent Guest Conductor at the Bonn Opera, Will Humburg has scored particular successes with new productions of “Un ballo in maschera”, “Kat’a Kabanova”, “Der ferne Klang”, “Aida” and the highly acclaimed production of Walter Braunfels ” Der Traum ein Leben “. As Regular Guest Conductor at the Cologne Opera he has conducted “L’Italiana in Algeri”, “Aida“, “La Forza del Destino“, “Il Trittico“, “Otello“, “Falstaff“, “Magic Flute“, “Parsifal“, and many others.
From October 2009 to December 2011, Will Humburg served as Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania where, in addition to leading a range of symphonic concerts, he conducted “Elektra”, “Il Barbiere di Siviglia”, “Carmen”, “Viva la Mamma” and two semi-scenic Performances by Honeggers “Jean d’Arc au bûcher”.
As General Music Director of the Staatstheater Darmstadt from 2014 to 2018 his projects included a Janacek cycle with “The Cunning Little Vixen” (2015/16), “Jenufa” (2016/17) and “Vec Makropulos” (2017/2018), Wagner’s “Tannhäuser” and “The Flying Dutchman”, as well as works by Rossini, Puccini and Verdi. A distinct highlight was a scenic concert in March 2017 in which Dallapiccola’s “Il prigioniero” was inserted into Mozart’s Requiem.
At the Bonn Opera he has launched a series of early, unknown Verdi operas such as “Giovanna D’Arco” (2014/15), “Gerusalemme” (2015/16), “Attila” (2016/17) and “I due Foscari” in 2018. At the Hessische Staatstheater Wiesbaden’s 2015 May Festival he conducted a new production of Bellini’s “Norma” along with a revival of Puccini’s “Tosca”.
Humburg is a renowned interpreter of contemporary music and has maintained a close artistic partnership with Azio Corghi for over 3 decades. As such, he has premiered five of the Italian composer’s works, including the operas “Divara” and “Senja” in Münster, and “Tat’jana” at La Scala Milan in 2000. His repertoire further features works by Ligeti, Penderecki, Zimmermann, Nono, Henze, Matthus, Rihm, Maxwell Davies and various others.
The Naxos label has released several of his CDs to excellent reviews, including recordings of “La Bohème”, “Il barbiere di Siviglia”, “Il Trovatore” and “Falstaff” (named “Editor’s choice of the month” by Gramophone magazine). In 2008, Arthaus Musik released the German premiere of the opera “Ice and Steel” by Vladimir Deschewow under the Maestro’s direction at the Staatstheater Saarbrücken on DVD.
His Verdi interpretations have earned him particular critical praise in recent years. As such, the German opera magazine Opernwelt named him Conductor of the Year through their annual critics’ polls – with further nominations for his Falstaff, Attila, Tannhäuser, Jenufa, as well as for the Darmstadt State Orchestra’s “quality leap” under his General Music Directorship.
Maestro Humburg has dedicated the 2018/2019 season to the following opera projects: “La Forza del Destino” at the Cologne Opera, “Rigoletto” at the State Theater Wiesbaden, “Jerusalem” and “Le Vêpres siciliennes” at the Bonn Opera as well as to several symphony concerts.