Manfred Honeck (born 17 September 1958, in Nenzing) is an Austrian conductor, the son of Otto and Frieda Honeck, from a family of nine children. One of his brothers is the Vienna Philharmonic leader Rainer Honeck.
As a youth, Honeck studied violin. He attended the Academy of Music in Vienna, and later played the viola. He was later a musician in the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. His early work as a conductor included a period as assistant to Claudio Abbado with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (Youth Orchestra).
From 1991 to 1996, Honeck conducted regularly at the Zurich Opera House. From 1997 to 1998, he was Music Director of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. He also held a regular position from 1996 to 1999 with the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig. In 1998, he was named the Principal Guest Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic. From 2000 to 2006, Honeck was Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where his work included conducting the 2006 premiere of Sven-David Sandström’s Ordet – en passion (24 March, Stockholm). Honeck became Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of the Staatsoper Stuttgart with the 2007–2008 season, with an initial contract for four years. In November 2009, Stuttgart Opera announced the departure of Honeck as its GMD after the conclusion of his contract in 2011. Honeck formally concluded his Stuttgart tenure in the summer of 2011. Honeck became Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra with the 2008–2009 season. He has also been the Artistic Director of the International Concerts Wolfegg in Germany for over 20 years.
In May 2006, in the US, Honeck made an acclaimed appearance with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO). In November 2006, he returned to Pittsburgh to conduct the PSO in another concert that received strongly positive reviews. On 24 January 2007, the PSO named Honeck its ninth music director, effective with the 2008–2009 season for an initial contract of 3 years. In September 2009, the PSO announced the extension of Honeck’s contract to the 2015–2016 season. In February 2012, the PSO announced the further extension of Honeck’s contract through the 2019–2020 season. Honeck and the PSO have recorded music of Gustav Mahler, Giuseppe Verdi, Alan Fletcher and Richard Strauss for the Octavia (Exton) label. Subsequently Honeck and the PSO have recorded four acclaimed SACDs for Reference Recordings, of Strauss tone poems, Dvorak’s Eighth Symphony and Janacek’s Jenufa Suite, Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony, and Beethoven’s Fifth and Seventh symphonies.
Honeck lives in the village of Altach, Vorarlberg, Austria with his wife Christiane and their six children.