"From the second Sascha Goetzel walked on stage … we knew we were in for a treat of a concert. He is one of those magical conductors who ooze charisma, connecting with every single member of the orchestra, pulling in the audience to come along with them for the ride."
A dynamic, charismatic, and compelling musical presence on the podium, Sascha Goetzel has emerged as a multifaceted conductor—a remarkable orchestra builder, creative programmer, entrepreneur, educator, and advocate for musicians and artists. In September 2022, he began his tenure as Music Director of France’s Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire for an initial four-year term.
During his eleven-year tenure as artistic director and principal conductor of the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra, Goetzel significantly raised the ensemble’s artistic and technical standards. His imaginative programming, award-winning recordings, and widely praised tours to the Salzburg Festival, BBC Proms, Royal Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Musikverein, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and Hong Kong Arts Festival, transformed a provincial orchestra into an international phenomenon. Goetzel is also principal guest conductor of the Sofia Philharmonic, in Bulgaria.
He has appeared at many prominent orchestras—the NHK Symphony, Munich Symphony, London Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tonkünstler Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte-Carlo, Orchestre National de Bordeaux-Aquitaine, and Radio Symphony Orchestra of Vienna. He has collaborated with major soloists, among them Daniil Trifonov, Joyce Di Donato, Yuja Wang, Maxim Vengerov, Julian Rachlin, Renee Fleming, Brandon Marsalis, Ian Bostridge, and Murray Perahia, among many others.
In 2014, he made an electric debut at the Vienna State Opera conducting Le Nozze di Figaro, which led to six return engagements—productions of Fledermaus, La Bohème, Don Giovanni, Rigoletto, Magic Flute, and Rosenkavalier. Goetzel has also appeared at the Mariinsky Theatre, Zürich Opera House, Tokyo Nikikai Opera Company in Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan, New National Theatre Tokyo, Opéra de Rennes, Wiener Volksoper, and Opéra de Montpellier.
Goetzel and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra released several award-winning albums on the Deutsche Grammophon, Onyx, and Warner labels, featuring works by Turnage, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, Bizet, Rimsky-Korsakov, Respighi, Hindemith, and Schmitt.
Committed to music education and an advocate for the arts in general, Goetzel is co-founder and chief creative director of the Vienna Art Network, a new digital platform supporting independent musicians and artists; artistic director of Music for Peace (El Sistema-Turkey); a conducting mentor at Dirigentloftet, a program in Norway focused on developing young conductors; and director and co-founder of Opera by the Fjord, an innovative academy and festival for aspiring singers and instrumentalists in partnership with the Bergen National Opera.
Born and raised in Vienna, Goetzel trained as a violinist and began his studies with Richard Österreicher in Austria and Jorma Panula at the Sibelius Academy. He furthered his education in the United States, working with Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Andre Previn, Zubin Mehta, and Bernhard Haitink. In addition to attending the Music University in Graz and Brooklyn College, Goetzel was a fellow at the Tanglewood Music Festival for two summers.
His previous posts include principal guest conductor of the Kanagawa Philharmonic(2013–2017) and Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne (2012–2015), as well as principal conductor of the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, in Finland (2006–2012).