German conductor and violinist Thomas Hengelbrock was raised in the port town of Wilhelmshaven, and he studied violin with Berlin Philharmonic violinist Rainer Kussmaul. Hengelbrock worked as an assistant to Antal Doráti, Witold Lutoslawski, and Mauricio Kagel, who introduced him to much contemporary music. He took up a conducting career of his own, directing the Freiburger Barockorchester, which he co-founded and led, and Concentus Musicus Wien, working with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Between 1988 and 1991, Hengelbrock also directed the Amsterdam Bach Soloists, and between 1991 and 1995, he formed and led the Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble, establishing a broad repertoire that ranged from Baroque to contemporary music with a focus on authentic period practices. In 1993 Hengelbrock made his debut as an opera conductor with Gluck’s Alceste, and followed it with performances of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Purcell’s King Arthur, and Bartók’s Bluebeard's Castle, along with his own revivals of Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Mitridate Eupatore, and Galuppi’s Il Filosofo di Campagna. Hengelbrock was appointed artistic director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, serving from 1995 to 1998, and was music director of the Volksoper Wien from 2000 to 2003. Hengelbrock also directed the Feldkirch Festival until 2006. In 2011, he was named principal conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra in Hamburg, now the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester, which he directed until 2018, and in 2016 he was named as associate conductor of Orchestre de Paris. His recordings have been released by Sony Classical, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, Erato, and Opus Arte.