Sir Jeffrey Tate is one of today’s most fascinating and inspiring conductors, whose artistic sensibility and ability to bring differentiated expressions and colors to his musical interpretations have made him one of Britain’s outstanding artists. The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra is Sir Jeffrey Tate‘s creative home base in Germany. Having worked there for several years now, he confesses that his engagement with this orchestra was a real stroke of fortune: “I enjoy working with this orchestra that is so deeply rooted in the city of Hamburg. It is very flexible and eager to work; we can afford to do unusual programs and have developed a very interested audience.”
Having originally studied medicine at Cambridge University, Dr. Tate practiced three years as an eye surgeon in London before he started his professional artistic career by joining the music staff at the Royal Opera Covent Garden in 1970. He assisted Sir George Solti in London, Sir John Pritchard in Cologne, Pierre Boulez for the centenary Ring at the Bayreuth Festival, and Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg. After his conducting debut with Carmen at Gothenburg Opera in 1978, he rapidly rose to international fame. Maestro Tate has since worked with most of the major orchestra in the world. He has recorded a vast number of landmark recordings, and maintains lasting musical partnerships with some of the finest musicians of our time. He regularly conducts in the world's leading opera houses and festivals. He is without a doubt one of the world’s pre-eminent conductors of the music of Wagner and Strauss, of core classical and romantic repertoire, of British music of the late 19th and 20th century and of classical modern and contemporary music.
Sir Jeffrey Tate gave his conducting debut at the Royal Opera House. His first performance at the Met in New York was in 1979, and he made his debut with the English Chamber Orchestra in London in the season 1982/83. He was appointed Principal Conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra in 1985 and established during the following years this orchestra’s international reputation as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world. With the ECO, he produced critically acclaimed recordings of Haydn and Mozart Symphonies for EMI, as well as the complete Mozart piano concertos with Mitsuko Ushida as soloist. In 1985, he also conducted the world premiere of Henze’s Il Ritorno d’Ulisse at the Salzburg Festival. Two years later he conducted the world premiere of Rolf Liebermann’s Der Wald in Geneva.
In 1989 the Maestro was appointed both Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and Principal Guest Conductor of the Orchestre National de France. With this orchestra in 1994, he conducted the first complete staging of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in Paris since 1945. The same production was restaged in 2004 in Adelaide with Maestro Tate conducting Australia’s first complete staged Ring ever. His new production of the Ring in Cologne has also been internationally acclaimed.
In 1991, Sir Jeffrey Tate was appointed first Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He has also conducted numerous productions at the Bastille Opera and at the Châtelet in Paris and was given the honor of re-opening the Palais Garnier with Così fan tutte in 1996. He made his triumphant debut at La Scala in Milan in 2000 and has been regularly re-invited since.
Tate enjoys a close relationship with orchestras such as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony, the London Symphony, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony, the Cleveland Symphony, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the Danish Radio, the Mozarteum Salzburg, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the Orchestre de Paris, the Toronto Symphony, the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal, the Sydney Symphony, and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony.
Future projects include Billy Budd at the Bastille in Paris as well as Der Rosenkavalier and two complete cycles of Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen at the Vienna State Opera in the 2013/14 season.
Since 2001, Maestro Tate has been Honorary Director of the National Italian Radio Orchestra. He was appointed Principal Conductor of the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra in 2009.
In 2001, 2002, and 2010 Sir Jeffrey Tate was awarded the Franco Abbiati Prize (the most prestigious music critics’ prize in Italy) for his work with the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, for his work at the Teatro San Carlo in Napoli and for his production of Götterdämmerung at La Fenice in Venice. Sir Jeffrey Tate has been named "Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur", "Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres", and "Commander of the British Empire".