Thomas Dausgaard

Thomas Dausgaard

Conductor

• Born 1963

Biography

Conductor Thomas Dausgaard, while developing a broad repertory that has taken in music from most periods, is associated with the works of composers from his native Denmark, as well as those from elsewhere in Scandinavia, in particular Sweden. He has devoted most of his recording activity to works by composers from Denmark and Sweden -- mostly contemporary ones -- and has held important conducting posts in both countries and beyond.

Dausgaard was born on July 4, 1963, in Copenhagen. He studied music at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and later at the Royal College of Music, London. After holding minor posts and freelancing as a conductor in Scandinavia in his early career, Dausgaard received his first major appointment in 1997, that of principal conductor of the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. In 2001, he debuted at the Proms in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and went on to conduct many orchestras in the U.K., including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and City of Birmingham Symphony orchestra. Also in 2001, Dausgaard added a second prestigious post, when he accepted the appointment as principal guest conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He served in that capacity until 2004, when he was elevated to that ensemble's principal conductor, the first Dane to hold that position; Dausgaard was named honorary conductor in 2011 as he stepped down from his position with the Danish National Symphony. He conducted both the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony at the 2010 Proms. Dausgaard became the principal guest conductor for the Seattle Symphony in 2014, adding the role of music director with the orchestra in 2019. Dausgaard added to his busy schedule in 2016, when he took over the post of chief conductor with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Along with performing the standard repertory, Dausgaard's concert programs are replete with names like Bent Sørensen, Johan Svendsen, and Dag Wirén, but particularly Rued Langgaard, Per Nørgård, and Asger Hamerik. In fact, Dausgaard has recorded highly praised extensive multi-disc sets devoted to the orchestral works of the latter three composers. He has regularly toured the major cities of Europe with his ensembles and has guest-conducted some of the leading American orchestras, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Minnesota Orchestra.

Dausgaard has amassed a sizeable discography, with his recordings appearing on a variety of labels including Dacapo, BIS, Chandos, and Virgin Classics. His first major recording was made with the Danish National Symphony, the 1998 Bach to the Future, a Chandos release containing the title work by Nørgård, and various pieces by other composers. For all his devotion to Scandinavian music, though, Dausgaard has also received lavish critical praise for his series for the Simax label of the complete orchestral works of Beethoven. In 2006, Dacapo released a recording of Langgaard's opera Antikrist, conducted by Dausgaard. He issued a recording on BIS in 2007 of Dvorák's Symphonies No. 6 and No. 9, with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He was heard on several recordings in 2020, including Bruckner's Symphony No. 6 with the Bergen Philharmonic and two symphonies by Carl Nielsen with the Seattle Symphony.

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