Hailed by the press as one of the most exciting conductors emerging from Germany today, Clemens Schuldt has recently been appointed as Music Director of the Orchestre symphonique de Québec, a position he commences from the 2023/24 season. He is widely praised for his innovative interpretations and his deep understanding of music. His knowledge, particularly about the classical and romantic repertoire, as well as his creativity to include lesser-known and contemporary works in his programmes are widely acclaimed.

Clemens Schuldt opens the 2023/24 season with a tour of Germany and Eastern Europe with the German Bundesjugendorchester and Martynas Levickis. He returns to the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, where he will conduct the season opening concert, as well as to Copenhagen Philharmonic, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Stuttgarter Philharmoniker, Hallé Orchestra Manchester and Hong Kong Sinfonietta. 

In addition to symphonic works, Clemens Schuldt devotes himself intensively to opera. In 2023/24 he will make his debut at Opera North, conducting Mozart's "Così fan tutte". Last season he also conducted a highly-praised new production of Mozart's "Mitridate, re di Ponto" together with The English Concert at Garsington Opera. At Staatstheater Karlsruhe, he led the revival of Mozart's "Die Zauberflöte". Clemens Schuldt spent two years as Conductor in Residence at the Staatstheater Mainz, where he lead new productions of Bellini's "Norma", Gluck's "Armide", Gounod's "Faust" and Verdi's "Rigoletto" as well as performances of Wagner's "Der fliegende Holländer". In 2019 he made his acclaimed debut at the Venice Biennale, conducting George Benjamin's opera "Written on Skin" with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai.

Further recent highlights include a recording of Márton Illés' Violin Concerto with Patricia Kopatchinskaja and the Münchener Kammerorchester, whose Chief Conductor he was from 2016 to 2022, concerts at the Dresdner Festspiele as well as an extraordinary Beethoven project with Jazzrausch Bigband at the Isarphilharmonie Munich.

Clemens Schuldt has appeared with renowned orchestras such as the Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Weimar, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, SWR Sinfonieorchester and ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre ational du Capitole de Toulouse, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta and Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. Further afield, he conducted the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Xian Symphony and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra.

Soloists with whom he enjoys working with include Khatia Buniatishvili, Collin Currie, Vilde Frang, Ilya Gringolts, Augustin Hadelich, Håkan Hardenberger, Steven Isserlis, Igor Levit, Fazıl Say, Baiba Skride, Kian Soltani, Christian Tetzlaff, Daniil Trifonov, Alisa Weilerstein and Frank-Peter Zimmermann.

Clemens Schuldt won the prestigious Donatella Flick Conducting Competition in London in 2010 and was the Assistant Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra for one year. Born in Bremen, he first studied violin and performed with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. He then completed his conducting studies in Düsseldorf, Vienna and Weimar.

13 Questions for Clemens Schuldt

(from the brochure of the Munich Chamber Orchestra)

1. Are you more the sprinter or the endurance type?

'In the past I'd have said sprinter, but nowadays endurance.'

2. Fighter or gambler? 


3. Stereo or smartphone? How and where do you listen to music? 

'CD and Spotify. I still have a large CD collection that I listen to on my old stereo, which was once top of the range. Sadly I'm not at home much, but when I am, I listen to CDs a lot. With the score.'

4. Your favourite composer? 

'Oh that's easy... Schubert!' 

5. Is it important to identify emotionally with the music you perform? 

'Yes, but it's not always necessary. With some pieces, just mastering them is a pleasure, almost like a mathematical exercise. But of course it was the personal connection to music which led me to choose this profession.' 

6. You once said that young conductors have to 'do more' than old ones. Why? 

'It's difficult to dare to do less, to learn to trust. For a long time I had the impression that older conductors have more ‘pulling power’ than younger ones. Maybe it's a question of authority, and also status. The reduction of each gesture is something that has to be learned. It has to develop. But in the end it's something quite natural.' 

7. Is conducting actually done with the hands or the eyes? Or the soul?

'If the soul is the source, then it flows through the hands, and you can conduct with your eyes closed. But I very much like eye contact. I need it.'

8. Are rehearsals overrated?

'Definitely not. If, as a conductor, I consider rehearsals to be not a routine but an opportunity, then they are the most valuable thing of all.'

9. Can a conductor speak or should he just show everything with his hands? 

'It's my job to make people look. The more they realise how much I show, the less I need to speak. But I have to insist that they watch me.'

10. What annoys you about the classical music industry? 

'The encroaching superficiality, as seen in the dwindling courage to offer audiences something they don't already know.'

11. Do rituals bond audiences or not? 

'They both bond and bind. I find some worth preserving, such as the silence during concerts. Others, such as a strict dress code, are irrelevant to me as an artist. In an architectonic environment in which the arts are part of daily life, I'd find casual clothes perfectly acceptable for all kinds of music. People dress up less to go to the theatre than to go to the opera, and it doesn't seem to have done Shakespeare any harm.'

12. Which is your baton of choice? 

'Five years ago I tried out twenty different batons. Since then I've stuck to one particular model, Mollard. It sits well in the hand and isn't too long.'

13. When did you sense that conducting could be your thing?

'When I was about 25, during my first concert as a conductor. I experienced a completely unprecedented feeling of freedom and release on the stage, in contrast to the constant pressure that I knew as a violinist. Whilst conducting, this performance pressure diffused into a feeling of freedom and inspiration.'