Manfred Honeck was born in Austria and studied music at the Academy of Music in Vienna. An accomplished violinist and violist, he spent more than ten years as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic and the Vienna State Opera Orchestra. It is this experience that heavily influenced his conducting and helped give it a distinctive stamp.
Manfred Honeck commenced his career as conductor of Vienna's Jeunesse Orchestra, which he co-founded, and as assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra in Vienna. Subsequently, he was engaged by the Zurich Opera House, where he was bestowed the prestigious European Conductor’s Award in 1993. In 1997, he assumed the post of Music Director at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for a year.
In 1996 Manfred Honeck began a three-year stint as one of three main conductors of the MDR Symphony Orchestra Leipzig and in 1997, he served as Music Director at the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for a year. A highly successful tour of Europe with the Oslo Philharmonic marked the beginning of a close collaboration with this orchestra which consequently appointed him Principal Guest Conductor, a post he held for several years. From 2000 to 2006 he was Music Director of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. In 2007 Manfred Honeck assumed his post as Music Director of the Staatsoper Stuttgart. Beginning in september 2008, he becomes the Principal Guest Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra in Prague. In January 2007, after several highly successful guest appearances leading the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, he was appointed its ninth Music Director, a position he begins at the start of the 2008/2009 season.
As a guest conductor Manfred Honeck has worked with major international orchestras such as the BR Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Czech Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic as well as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra Washington, and Boston Symphony Orchestra in the USA.
Operatic engagements have led him to the Semperoper in Dresden, Komische Oper Berlin, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels and Royal Opera of Copenhagen. He conducted Mozarts Così fan tutte at the White Nights Festival in St. Petersburg and at the Salzburg Festival. He also chose this work for his first, very successful, appearance in Stuttgart; his performances in his first season as General Music Director there included premieres of Berlioz's Les Troyens and Mozart's Idomeneo. In July 2009 he led a concert performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Verbier Festival.