François-Xavier Roth and Dr Kai Gniffke, SWR Intendant. Photo: Patricia Nelligan (detail) View full image

François-Xavier Roth appointed in Stuttgart

François-Xavier Roth has been appointed Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of SWR Symphony Orchestra in Stuttgart. He takes up the appointment in the 2025/2026 season for an initial term of five years, leading projects as Designate Chief Conductor from 2024/2025. He will spend 14 weeks each season with the orchestra, conducting subscription concerts in Stuttgart, Freiburg and Mannheim, as well as taking part in national festivals, international tours and the orchestra’s educational projects.

Professor Dr Kai Gniffke, Intendant of SWR said, ‘François-Xavier Roth is exactly the right conductor for our orchestra and SWR. He is not only a gifted musician, but an equally good communicator. He has managed to inspire millions of viewers about classical music on French television. He is passionate about the idea of reaching everyone with classical music, regardless of their social background and character. We will support him with all our means.’

Roth said, ‘I am very honoured to accept the position of Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the SWR Symphonieorchester from 2025. This still young orchestra has a unique DNA: the musicians are extremely experienced and passionate advocates of the music of our time and at the same time approach the repertoire of the last centuries in a historically informed manner – two aspects that are very important to me personally. I look forward to our joint projects and challenges with all their educational, social and media opportunities to create a musical universe for and with our audience.’

Anke Mai, SWR Programme Director for Young Formats, Knowledge and Culture said, ‘François-Xavier Roth is one of the most exciting conductors of our time. His concerts are real events that open up completely new perspectives for the listener. That’s why I’m really looking forward to his collaboration with our orchestra. His expertise in old and new music is an ideal match for the artistic profile of the SWR Symphony Orchestra and I see the fact that he is returning to SWR as proof of the remarkable development of our orchestra, and as a compliment for our musicians and their outstanding quality.’

Frank-Michael Guthmann, Principal Cellist and Director of the SWR Symphony Orchestra said, ‘After the SWR Symphony Orchestra’s first concert with François-Xavier Roth and Mahler’s Seventh Symphony in Baden-Baden, it was clear to us that our special story with this special person and musicians must continue. We are very happy that we have succeeded in gaining an outstanding and inspiring opportunity for musicians with the engagement of the second chief conductor of the SWR Symphonieorchester.’

Sabrina Haane, General Manager of SWR Symphony Orchestra said: ‘I can’t imagine a more suitable Chief Conductor for the next stage of success for the SWR Symphony Orchestra than François-Xavier Roth. He is not only an exceptional conductor and phenomenal programmer, but also interacts with the audience with inimitable charm. These qualities, combined with his great presence, will open up previously unimagined opportunities for the SWR Symphony Orchestra and its audience. At the same time, we are very pleased that Teodor Currentzis would like to continue his collaboration with the SWR Symphony Orchestra even after his contract has expired. He has done a great job over the past few seasons, for which we owe him all our thanks.’

Roth is currently General Music Director of the City of Cologne, conducting Gürzenich Orchestra and Cologne Opera, Principal Guest Conductor of London Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Atelier Lyrique de Tourcoing. He also conducts his own orchestra, Les Siècles, which he founded in 2003, as well as guest conducting leading orchestras around the world.