Catherine Rückwardt was born in Los Angeles. In the last few years she has become one of the most sought after conductors in Germany. She is Music Director of the Mainz Staatstheater since 2001, and her innovative programming, large repertoire and the widely recognised, highly praised “Mainz Orchestral Sound” (“Mainzer Klang”) have made the music profession take notice of her.
After studying the piano and violin in Hamburg and Lübeck and a first position as conductor at the theatre in Bremen, Catherine Rückwardt received a call to the Opera House at Frankfurt am Main, where she conducted Mozart, Verdi, Wagner and Strauss to much acclaim. Her work in Mainz began with the reopening of the renovated Opera House with the sensational success of a staged version of Handel’s oratorio ”Saul“. Productions of ”Tosca“, ”Lohengrin“, ”Ariadne auf Naxos“, ”Freischütz“ and ”La Traviata“ followed. In an exceptionally productive collaberation with the Director and Stage Designer Gottfried Pilz, she brought Peter Ruzicka’s Music Theatre Piece ”Celan“ to the Rhine-Main region.
Moreover Catherine Rückwardt is also a welcome visitor to many orchestras in Germany and the USA, in particular the ”Ensemble Modern“, the orchestras in Bremen, Darmstadt und Frankfurt, and various Radio Companies like SWR and WDR. Her work as a pioneer in her field has been honoured by international associations for women in employment, and by the Bremen Senate. She was awarded the ZONTA Arts Prize in 1999.