“The Elektra music has – in the relentlessly modern, yet sweet and sensual reading of Michael Balke – downright drug character.
This is like ecstasy. A very impressive performance of orchestra and conductor.”
- Dieter David Scholz, MDR Figaro
“Musical goose bumps!”
“One aspect of a peak musical performance in the orchestral world is when the ensemble precision is locked tight and the notes are flying fast, yet there is a fluffy airiness to the music. That paradoxical pairing of tight control with a lofty bounce in the sound infused the solid bones of this symphony with new life.
Balke clearly has a way with this music and the orchestra was quick and ready to deliver what he sought, and likely more. There was a definite connection with the audience which clearly loved what they heard.”
- HERALD TRIBUNE
Equally at home in the symphonic and opera repertoire the young German conductor Michael Balke has gained international attention for his performances. He regularly follows invitations to many European countries as well as Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA.
Between 2018 and 2021 Michael Balke was Principal Guest Conductor at the St. Gallen Theatre and Symphony Orchestra (Switzerland), recent invitation include his debuts at the Semperoper in Dresden and concerts with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
Recent engagements include his return to Japan for MADAMA BUTTERFLY (Tokyo, Osaka) as well as symphony concerts in Tokyo, gala concerts with Marina Rebeka and the Croatian National Radio Orchestra (Zagreb) and the Munich Radio Orchestra, concerts at the Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Sarasota Orchestra in Florida, at the Tongyeong Music Festival with Jean-Yves Thibaudet, his US debut with the Sarasota Orchestra in Florida featuring Midori, and a new production of DIE GEZEICHNETEN (Schreker) and NOTRE DAME (Franz Schmidt) in St. Gallen (Switzerland).
He led the new production of SALOME in Verona, TOSCA at the St. Gallen Theatre, L’HEURE ESPAGNOL/GIANNI SCHICCHI at Opéra national de Lorraine, LA BOHEME with Danish National Opera, MERRY WIDOW at the Metropolitan Theatre in Tokyo, DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER in Sweden, ROMÉO ET JULIETTE at Teatro Grande in Brescia, and LA TRAVIATA at the Mannheim National Theatre.
Important engagements of the recent past also include concerts at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Alte Oper Frankfurt, KKL Luzern and with Latvian National Orchestra in Riga.
From 2011 to 2016 Michael Balke was Principal Conductor at Magdeburg Opera where he has conducted a broad repertoire of new productions from Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti to Verdi, Strawinsky, Korngold and Richard Strauss, as well as numerous symphony concerts.
He regularly works with orchestras like Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra (Tokyo), Osaka Philharmonic, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Copenhagen Phil, MDR Sinfonieorchester Leipzig, Munich Symphony Orchestra, Munich Radio Orchestra, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, Residentie Orkest, Orchestre national Montpellier, Orchestre de Nancy, Orchestra Siciliana Palermo and Budapest Symphony Orchestra.
CD productions include a solo album with Marina Rebeka (French opera arias) and a full production of Verdi's LA TRAVIATA (nomination as Opus Klassik "Conductor of the Year").
Michael Balke was born in Braunschweig, Germany and studied conducting under Christopher Zimmerman and piano under James Tocco and Frank Weinstock at the Cincinnati Conservatory (USA). Chamber music studies with the Tokyo String Quartet, LaSalle Quartet and Menahem Pressler.