BIO

Johannes Witt is permanent conductor at the Aalto Theater in Essen, where he has conducted new productions and revivals of »The Magic Flute«, »The Csárdásfürstin«, »Il Barbiere di Siviglia«, »Norma«, »The land of Smiles«, »The Bartered Bride«, »Hansel and Gretel«, »Così fan tutte«, »Il Trovatore«, »The Bat«, »Cain, overo il primo omicidio«, »Orfeo ed Euridice« as well as the ballets »Romeo and Juliet«, »The Nutcracker«, »Giselle«, »The Sleeping Beauty«, »Don Quichote« and »Carmen / Bolero«.
He conducted the Aalto Theater premieres of John Cranko’s »Onegin«, »Swan Lake« and »A Night in Venice«, all highly praised by press and audience alike:

»(...) Last but not least, there is a special praise from the critic (which was confirmed at the end by the audience's sudden standing ovations) for the highly talented man in front of the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra, namely Johannes Witt, who, like in »The Nutcracker«, entertained superbly with a rubato-full Tchaikovsky interpretation. An exceptional conductor who one should keep an eye on (...)«

(Alviano Salvago, DER OPERNFREUND, 29.01.2018)

Currently he is engaged by Den Norske Opera in Oslo, conducting the premiere of John Cranko’s „Onegin“.

Guest engagements led Johannes Witt to the Nationaltheater Mannheim (»Don Giovanni«), the Bonn Opera House (»Madama Butterfly«), the Staatstheater Kassel (»The Merry Wives of Windsor«) and the Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern (German premiere of the chamber opera »Heart Sutra« by Christian Jost and the monodrama »The Raven« by Toshio Hosakawa). In 2016 Johannes Witt conducted a critically acclaimed premiere of Prokofiev's »Romeo and Juliet« at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville.

Johannes has worked with orchestras such as the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, the Essen Philharmonic, the Duisburg Philharmonic, the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Folkwang Chamber Orchestra, the Staatsorchester Kassel, the Orchestra of the Nationaltheater Mannheim, the Bergische Symphoniker, the Philharmonie Südwestfalen, the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla a.o.

He began his professional career as a coach at the Staatstheater Darmstadt. In 2012 Stefan Soltész brought him to the Aalto Theater Essen as a coach and conductor. Here he worked closely with Stefan Soltész as his assistant in productions of »Pelléas et Mélisande«, »Ariadne auf Naxos« and »Parsifal«. He assisted conductors such as Tomáš Netopil, Friedrich Haider, Martyn Brabbins, Dima Slobodeniouk, Giuliano Carella and Will Humburg, the latter for a production of “Die tote Stadt” at the Teatro Massimo di Palermo.

Johannes studied conducting in Cologne with Professor Michael Luig at the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln and in in St. Petersburg with Loenid Korchmar of the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory St. Petersburg.

Johannes is a trained percussionist. Before conducting, he specialized on the marimba as a soloist in recitals and in concerts with orchestra. Johannes' passion for orchestral music and for the powerful sensation of collective music making has its roots in his many years as timpanist in the youth orchestras of Toronto and Cologne.

As Artistic Director of the Landesjugendorchester Hamburg, a post he took up in 2020, Johannes shares this passion with highly talented young musicians. He hopes to be a source of inspiration for these future colleagues of his and that their time in a youth orchestra has a similarly meaningful impact on their lives as it did on his.

press reviews

»THE LAND OF SMILES«
Aalto Theater Essen • 2020

»(...)Musically and dramaturgically, the staging and cast (...) are at an excellent level. (...)the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra under the experienced direction of Johannes Witt is outstanding.(...)«

(Juan Carlos Tellechea, MUNDOCLASSICO, 09.01.2020)

»ONEGIN«
Aalto Theater Essen • 2018

»(...) With the Essen Philharmonic, the young conductor Johannes Witt knows how to light the embers of the dramatic passages in the flowing transitions of the arrangement (...)«

(Bernd Aulich, RECKLINGHAUSER ZEITUNG, 12.11.2018)

»(...) The luminous orchestral arrangements are in very good hands with Johannes Witt and the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra. (...)«

(Pedro Obiera, O-TON, 15.11.2018)

»A NIGHT IN VENICE«
Aalto Theater Essen • 2018

»(...) Conductor Johannes Witt knows how to elicit Viennese wonders from the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra and can demonstrate the hit quality of every piece of music (...)«

(Annika Meyer, LITERATUR UND FEUILLETON, 07.06.2018)

»(...) Musically, the performance is on a good level. Johannes Witt and the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra conjure up a veritable waltz from the orchestra pit and demonstrate that Strauss rightfully deserves the title »King of Waltz«. (...)«

(Thomas Molke, ONLINE MUSIK MAGAZIN, 07.06.2018)

»(...) The lively opera choir and the lively but also warm-hearted Essen Philharmonic Orchestra under Johannes Witt make happiness perfect. (...)«

(Klaus Stübler, RUHRNACHRICHTEN, 04.06.2018)

»SWAN LAKE«
Aalto Theater Essen • 2018

»(...) The salt in the soup is the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra. With Johannes Witt, they ignite a suggestively glowing Tchaikovsky sound that remains in ones ear for a long time after leaving the opera house. (...)«

(Michael-Georg Müller, WAZ/NRZ KULTUR, 28.01.2018)

»(...) The Essen Philharmonic play musically inspired by Johannes Witt (...)«

(Frank Blum, LOKALKOMPASS.DE, 29.01.2018)

»(...) The more than 100 years old choreography of Petipa seems a little slow to us today. And Johannes Witt did not drive the Essen Philharmonic to fast tempi. What you heard were big, round Tchaikovsky sounds, fluid and sweet. (...)«

(Julia Gass, RUHRNACHRICHTEN, 28.01.1018)

»(...) Under the direction of Johannes Witt, the Essen Philharmonic Orchestra plays a supple Tchaikovsky, often held back in favor of precision, with dramatic power, where necessary. (...)«

(Edda Breski, WA.DE, 29.01.2018)