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Hartmut Haenchen is a German conductor, known as a specialist for the music of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, and for opera which he conducts in the leading opera houses of the world.

Haenchen began his musical career as a member of the Dresdner Kreuzchor. By the age of 15, he was already conducting performances as cantor. As a 17-year-old, he attracted widespread attention with his revival of Johann Adolph Hasse's Requiem. Haenchen subsequently studied conducting and voice at the Musikhochschule Dresden. He then attended master classes in Berlin, Leningrad and at Carinthian Summer Festival in Austria, later attending rehearsals at the Bayreuth Festival and concerts conducted by Herbert von Karajan.

Haenchen's first engagement was as director of the Robert-Franz-Singakademie (choral society) in Halle and conductor of the Halle Philharmonic Orchestra in 1966. From 1969 to 2014 he led the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra. He went on to win first prize at the Carl Maria von Weber Competition in Dresden in 1971. In 1972-1973 Haenchen served as principal Kapellmeister of the Zwickau Theatre. During that period he made his debut at the Berlin State Opera, directing Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. He appeared there regularly until 1986.

From 1973 to 1976, Haenchen was conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic and a regular guest with the Semperoper. Between 1976 and 1979, he served as music director of the Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle and Staatstheater in Schwerin. Subsequently, he began to make regular appearances at Berlin's Komische Oper. In 1980 he took over as artistic director of the Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Chamber Orchestra in Berlin.

In 1986, Haenchen became music director of the De Nederlandse Opera (DNO) in Amsterdam and chief conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO) and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. During his tenure in Amsterdam, DNO became renowned for its high-quality ensemble productions and innovative stagings. Haenchen was particularly associated with the German repertoire: Richard Strauss, Mozart, and Wagner, but he also conducted opera of Verdi, Bartók, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, and Gluck. After the 1999 Ring cycle, Haenchen left his post but has continued as a guest conductor. With the NPO, the newly formed Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra quickly rose in stature, under his leadership, not only in its opera performances but also in symphonic concerts, recordings, and foreign tours. Haenchen resigned his position in September 2002 to protest budget cuts.

Haenchen has made guest appearances in virtually all the European countries and toured Japan, the United States and Canada. He has conducted opera in Amsterdam, Bologna, Geneva, Jerusalem, London, Munich, New York City, Stuttgart, Warsaw, Vienna and Wiesbaden, Berlin, Dresden, Milan, Paris, Madrid. Two new productions, which he directed at the Royal Opera House in London, were singled out for the Laurence Olivier Award.

He was scheduled to conduct Parsifal at the Bayreuth Festival in the summer of 2016 and 2017.

The periodical Opernwelt has chosen on the basis of a vote of fifty journalists worldwide Hartmut Haenchen as Conductor of the Year 2017.

In 2018, Hartmut Haenchen was awarded with the Richard Wagner Prize of the Richard Wagner Foundation Leipzig.

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