François-Xavier Roth & SWR Symphonieorchester
François-Xavier Roth to become Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the SWR Symphonieorchester
François-Xavier Roth will take over the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the SWR Symphonieorchester as of the 2025/2026 season. He succeeds Teodor Currentzis, who has been at the helm of the orchestra since 2018 and will remain associated with it in the future.
François-Xavier Roth is considered one of the most innovative conductors and programme creators on the international stage. He is the current General Music Director of the City of Cologne, in which capacity he leads the Gürzenich Orchestra and Oper Köln, is also Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and is Artistic Director of the Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing. His excellent reputation is based not least on his success with Les Siècles, an orchestra he founded in 2003, which performs music from all periods on the respective historical instruments. François-Xavier Roth’s guest conducting engagements are limited to selected top international orchestras and opera houses, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, the Concertgebouw Orkest Amsterdam, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra as well as Bayerische Staatsoper and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin. François-Xavier Roth’s CD recordings enjoy benchmark status and have been honoured with international awards. In 2020, he became the youngest artist to receive the Honorary Award of the German Record Critics’ Award.
Shared concert experiences
François-Xavier Roth was Principal Conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg from 2011 to 2016. In July 2020, he conducted the SWR Symphonieorchester for the first time, conducting a live stream from Stuttgart’s Liederhalle with works by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Edgar Varèse and Béla Bartók. In June of this year, he returned to conduct the SWR Symphonieorchester as part of the Baden-Baden Whitsun Festival and delighted audiences, press and orchestra members alike with his conducting of Gustav Mahler’s Seventh Symphony.
François-Xavier Roth takes up his post as of the 2025/2026 season. His contract has a term of five years. He will work with the SWR Symphonieorchester for 14 weeks per season. In addition to conducting subscription concerts in Stuttgart, Freiburg and Mannheim, Roth will also conduct the SWR Symphonieorchester at the Donaueschinger Musiktage, the Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele and on national and international tours. Moreover, he will devote himself intensively to music education projects aimed at people of all ages. In addition to concert streams and recordings for radio and television, his concerts with the SWR Symphonieorchester will also be documented on physical recordings such as CDs and DVDs. In the 2024/2025 season, Roth will appear with the SWR Symphonieorchester as Principal Conductor Designate for several concert projects.
A gifted musician and communicator
Kai Gniffke, Director General of SWR: “François-Xavier Roth is exactly the right conductor for our orchestra and SWR. He is not only a gifted musician, but also an equally good communicator. He has succeeded in inspiring an audience of millions on French TV for classical music. François-Xavier Roth is passionate about the idea of reaching all people with classical music – whether they are experienced classical music fans or people who have never had any contact with classical music before. We will support him in this with all our means.”
Creating a musical universe for and with the audience
François-Xavier Roth: “I feel very honoured to accept the position of Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of the SWR Symphonieorchester from 2025. This still young orchestra has a unique DNA: the musicians are highly experienced and passionate advocates of the music of our time and at the same time approach repertoire of the past centuries in a historically informed way – two aspects that are very dear to me personally. I look forward to our joint projects and challenges with all their educational, social and media possibilities to create a musical universe for and with our audience.”
One of the most exciting conductors of our time
Anke Mai, SWR Programme Director Young Formats, Knowledge and Culture: “François-Xavier Roth is one of the most exciting conductors of our time. His concerts are true events that open up completely new perspectives for the audience. That is why I am very much looking forward to his collaboration with our orchestra. Roth’s expertise in Early and New music is an ideal match for the artistic profile of the SWR Symphonieorchester. And the fact that François-Xavier Roth is now returning to the SWR, I see as a testament to the remarkable development of our orchestra and as a compliment to our musicians and their outstanding quality.”
Special person and musician
Frank-Michael Guthmann, principal cellist and orchestra chairman of the SWR Symphonieorchester: “After the first joint concert of the SWR Symphonieorchester with François-Xavier Roth and Mahler’s Seventh Symphony at this year’s Whitsun Festival in Baden-Baden, it was clear to us that our special story with this special person and musician must continue. We are delighted that we have also succeeded in securing such an outstanding and inspiring musical personality with the engagement of the second Principal Conductor of the SWR Symphonieorchester.”
Opens up undreamt-of possibilities
Sabrina Haane, General Director of the SWR Symphonieorchester: “I can’t imagine a more suitable Principal Conductor for the next stage of the SWR Symphonieorchester’s fortunes than François-Xavier Roth. He is not only an exceptional conductor and phenomenal programme creator, but also enters into an inimitably charming exchange with the audience. These qualities, combined with his commanding presence, will open up hitherto undreamed-of possibilities for the SWR Symphonieorchester and its audiences. At the same time, we are delighted that Teodor Currentzis wishes to continue his collaboration with the SWR Symphonieorchester even after the expiration of his contract. He has achieved great things in the past seasons, for which he deserves our thanks.