For 18 years, Franz Welser-Möst has shaped an unmistakable sound culture as Musical Director of the Cleveland Orchestra. Under his leadership, the orchestra has been repeatedly praised by international critics for its musical excellence. Through innovative projects and co-operations, young audiences have been continuously approached and consulted and, as a result of these initiatives, 20% of all Cleveland Orchestra concertgoers are now under 25 years old. Welser-Möst has brought numerous world premieres and opera productions to Severance Hall. In addition to orchestral residencies in the USA, Europe and China, he and the Cleveland Orchestra are regular guests at all the major international festivals. His contract currently runs until 2027. As a guest conductor, Franz Welser-Möst enjoys a particularly close and productive artistic partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic. He has twice appeared on the podium for their celebrated New Year's Concert, and regularly conducts the orchestra in subscription concerts at the Vienna Musikverein, as well as on tours in Japan, China, Australia and the USA. Welser-Möst and the Vienna Philharmonic have also performed together at historical memorial concerts in Sarajevo and Versailles. Franz Welser-Möst is also a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival where he has set new standards in interpretation as an opera conductor with recent performances including »Rusalka«, »Der Rosenkavalier«, »Fidelio«, »Die Liebe der Danae«, Aribert Reimann's opera »Lear« and Richard Strauss' »Salome«, with which he made festival history in 2018.
Due to the incredible success of the production, »Salome« was brought back to the festival program in 2019. He will conduct the Vienna Philharmonic at the opening concert of the 2020 Salzburg Festival, as well as a new production of Richard Strauss’ »Elektra«. Franz Welser-Möst has been the recipient of a number of major honours and awards. He is Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, winner of the Vienna Philharmonic's Honorary Ring and has been awarded the Kilenyi Medal of the Bruckner Society of America as well as the Kennedy Center Gold Medal in the Arts. Franz Welser-Möst has made numerous CD and DVD recordings, including the recording of »Der Rosenkavalier« and »Salome« from the Salzburg Festival, and many of his recordings have won international awards. The most recent live recordings with the Cleveland Orchestra include a 3 CD box set »The Cleveland Orchestra - A New Century« - with compositions by Beethoven, Varèse, Strauss, Prokofiev, Johannes Maria Staud and Bernd Richard Deutsch.