Ulf Schirmer (born 1959) is a German conductor.
Born in Eschenhausen, Lower Saxony, Schirmer studied at the Bremen Conservatory, and also at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, with György Ligeti, Christoph von Dohnányi and Horst Stein. He worked as an assistant to Lorin Maazel and conducted at the Wiener Staatsoper productions of Luciano Berio’s Un re in ascolto, Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung, and Alexander Glazunov’s Raymonda.
From 1988 to 1991, Schirmer was Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of the city of Wiesbaden, serving as artistic director of symphonic concerts and opera and ballet at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden. He conducted Hans Werner Henze’s Das verratene Meer in 1990. In 1999, he conducted the premiere of Gerd Kühr’s opera Tod und Teufel at the Grazer Oper. His other work in opera has included conducting the first staged production of Szenen aus dem Leben der Heiligen Johanna by Walter Braunfels, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2008.
Schirmer was appointed Professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg in 2000, teaching musical analysis and musical dramaturgy. Since 2006, he has been chief conductor of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester (Munich Radio Orchestra). He is scheduled to conclude his tenure with the orchestra at the end of the 2016-2017 season.
Since 2009, Schirmer has been General Music Director of the Oper Leipzig. On 23 March 2011, Ulf Schirmer was elected director of the Oper Leipzig, and began serving a five-year term in August 2011. He conducted the first Bayreuth staging of Wagner’s early opera Die Feen in 2013.
Outside of Germany, Schirmer was Principal Conductor of the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1995 to 1998.