Karl-Heinz Steffens


Music Director Prague State Opera

  Principal Conductor & Artistic director Norrköping Symphony Orchestra

Karl-Heinz Steffens is recognised as one of the leading conductors of his generation, both the operatic and symphonic worlds. In August 2019 Steffens began his new position as General music director of the Prague State oper leading it to the reopening of this historic house in January 2020. This fall brings a second new collaboration as principal conductor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra in Sweden.


In great demand as a guest conductor, recent seasons have seen him work with ensembles such as the Bavarian Radio Symphony, Berlin Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic,  Toronto Symphony, Philharmonia London, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Zurich Tonhalle Orchestras as well as the Radio Symphony Orchestras of Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig and Stuttgart.


During his time as Music Director of the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, the orchestra was honoured with many accolades; they received the ECHO award for Best Orchestra in 2015 for their recording of works by B.A. Zimmermann and in 2016/17 were nominated prizewinners of the Best Concert Programme of the Season by the Deutsche Musikverlegerverband, the German Music Publishers’ Association. Most recently their recording of works by George Antheil, an addition to the Modern Times series, was designated Concert Recording of the Year by the new Opus Klassik awards.

A multifaceted carrier in the opera world includes appearances as music director of the Opera in Halle where he conducted the acclaimed "Ring Cycle Halle- Ludwigshafen" and performances at the Staatsoper Berlin, Theatro de La Scala in Milan and Operahouse Zürich.

In his time as music director of the Norwegian Opera in Oslo Steffens conducted, among other operas, the Norwegian premiere of "Pelleas and Melisande" by Claude Debussy.

Since summer 2019 Karl-Heinz Steffens is the musical director of the States Opera in Prague.

This fall Karl-Heinz Steffens will open the season with a new production of "Tristan and Isolde" by Richard Wagner. 

Prior to his conducting career, Steffens was a highly respected solo clarinettist who also held several orchestral positions culminating in the successive posts of Principal Clarinet with the Bavarian Radio and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras. Steffens has recently been awarded the Bundesverdienstkreuz in Germany for his services to music.


This biography is valid for use until October 2020. We update our biographies regularly and ask that they are not altered without permission.