“Partner to Harry Kupfer at the 2012 Janácek Festival [Katja Kabanova], conductor Stefan Veselka has the score deep under his skin; he can slow down, stop, feel the right dramatic pauses, and find the right colors in the music. Veselka has an amazing way of accompanying singers on stage!”
Currently Chief Conductor of the Münster Symphony Orchestra in Germany, Stefan Veselka has led orchestras in concert halls and opera houses throughout Europe, in cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Manchester, and Stuttgart. He conducted the Brabant Philharmonic Orchestra in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in 2011, and is also a regular guest conductor with the Brno Philharmonic in the Czech Republic. In February, he will make his U.S. debut with the Illinois Philharmonic/Chicago Southland conducting an all-Beethoven program.
Equally at home in the opera house, Mr. Veselka conducted highly successful productions of Rusalka for Opera Zuid in Maastricht/Netherlands in 2007, which led to multiple return engagements. Elsewhere, he has conducted performances of Aida, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, The Bartered Bride, Benvenuto, Cellini, Don Giovanni, L’elisir d’amore, La fille du régiment, Lohengrin, Manon, Mefistofele, Tosca and Werther, as well as a production of Katja Kabanova at the 2012 International Theatre and Music Festival Leoš Janácek in Brno. In January 2015, he made his debut in France conducting Katja Kabanova at the Opera Dijon. He will return to France to conduct performances of Jenufa in Dijon (2018), and in Caen (2019).
Upcoming productions include Faust and Der Freischütz in Münster, as well as concerts in Germany, France, and the Czech Republic. He has also appeared at the Bebersee and Orlando festivals.
Born in Stavanger, Norway, the son of Czech parents, Stefan Veselka is considered to be one of the most successful Norwegian artists of his generation. Following piano studies at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, he moved to Berlin in 1988, where he completed his formal studies at the Hochschule der Künste. His early career as a concert pianist included numerous appearances with prominent orchestras and conductors in concert venues throughout Europe, Japan, and the U.S. Recordings for various companies during that period include works by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Debussy, Lutoslawski, Strauss, Webern, and Valen. For the Antonin Dvorák anniversary in 2004, he recorded the complete piano works for NAXOS; this album earned him the 2004 Classical Internet Award. He has also been a prize winner in national and international competitions, including the Beethoven International Piano Competition in Vienna and the Artur Schnabel Piano Competition in Berlin.