Peter Gülke | Conductor

Peter Gülke was born in Weimar in 1934 and studied violoncello, musicology, German language and literature, Romance languages and literature and philosophy at the Liszt School of Music in Weimar, and at the universities of Jena and Leipzig. He was awarded a PhD from Leipzig in 1958 and a postdoctoral qualification as a lecturer from Berlin Technical College in 1985. Both during and after his studies he performed in numerous concerts of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. From 1959 he conducted at various theatres, including as principal conductor in Stendal, Potsdam and Stralsund. In 1976 he became music director at the opera house in Dresden (simultaneously teaching at the college of music there – conducting class, directing the symphony orchestra). In 1981 he became General Music Director in Weimar. In 1983 he left what was at that time East Germany, and from 1986 to 1996 worked as GMD in the city of Wuppertal, after which he led the conducting class at the State College of Music in Freiburg until 2000. Since 1992 he has worked within the Conductors' Forum of the German Music Council, since 1996 as chair of the steering committee, as well as leading numerous conducting courses in Germany, Austria, Finland, France and England.
He has appeared as guest conductor for opera productions in cities including Berlin, Hamburg, Vienna, Paris, Düsseldorf, Cologne, Munich, Rome, Turin, Kassel ("Ring"), Graz ("Ring") and Frankfurt and has conducted concerts in almost every country in Europe as well as in Japan and the USA with orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, almost all Germany radio symphony orchestras, the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, the Tonhalle Orchester of Zurich, the NHK Orchestraof Tokyo, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Wiener Symphoniker (regularly as part of the concert series "Musik zum Kennenlernen") and the Ensemble Recherche in Freiburg. Record and CD recordings include Schubert's Symphonic Fragments, which he also researched and edited, works by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern (with the chamber orchestra of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie), as well as works by Beethoven, Britten, Baird, Benda, Carl Eberwein, Glazunov, Haydn, Kirchner, Leyendecker, Ravel, Schumann, Tcherepnin, Schreker, Zemlinsky and composers from Goethe's circle in Weimar. He has conducted a number of premieres and has brought several forgotten works back into the public domain, for example Zemlinsky's symphonic poem "The Mermaid".
In the field of musicology, Gülke has worked on the music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, on the theory of musical interpretation and performance practice, Bach, aesthetics of the French enlightenment, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Bruckner, Debussy, Janácek, Schoenberg, Berg, Lutoslawski, Petterson and others. His most recent publications include books about Mozart's last symphonies (1998), Beethoven (2000), a collection of essays ("The Language of Music. From Bach to Holliger"), a book on music of the 15th century (2003) and "Upbeats – postludes. Studies on musical interpretation" (2006); the third edition of his Schubert book has recently been published.
Peter Gülke has been a member of the Sächsische Akademie der Künste since 1995, the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung since 1997, and the Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste since 2005. In 1995 he was awarded the Edison Schallplattenpreis for the full recording of Schreker's "Irrelohe" and the Sigmund Freud Prize by the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung. In 1996 he won the Von der Heydt Prize of the city of Wuppertal, and in 1998 the Karl Vossler Prize from the Bayerische Akademie der Künste. In 2003 the Liszt School of Music in Weimar made him an honorary member of the university senate, and in 2006 he was awarded an honorary degree. In addition he received an honorary degree from Bern University (2004) and the Carl Maria von Weber College of Music in Dresden in 2007.




faszination musik TV - Schiller zum 250. GeburtstagSchiller und die Musik

Concert programming

Lectures and articles






Schiller und die Musik
(Dokumentation, DEU 2009)