Director: Professor Daniel Kühnel

© J. Konrad Schmidt

Daniel Kühnel, born in Jerusalem in 1973, graduated with honours in piano from the conservatory there. After completing his studies in law and musicology at the FU Berlin, he worked as an assessor and began his professional theatre career as an assistant opera director before serving as a consultant to the artistic director at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 2001.

Kühnel became the youngest orchestra director in Germany when he started at the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra in 2004 with the chief conductor Andrey Boreyko. He achieved internationally acclaimed coups in 2009 with the engagement of Sir Jeffrey Tate and in 2018 with the engagement of Sylvain Cambreling as principal conductor.

Daniel Kühnel conceives and directs music festivals for some of the world's most important art and universal museums with great success: among others, in 2015 the "Dresdener Kunstfest" for the Dresden State Art Collections, in 2017 the festival "See the Sounds" at the Israel Museum Jerusalem on behalf of the German Foreign Office, and in 2018 the festival "Europe and the World" for the British Museum in London. In the same year, he succeeded in establishing the Martha Argerich Festival in Hamburg, which in its third edition in 2021 brought together over 60 artists - including many world stars - to make music together, often for the first time.

Kühnel had been pursuing the idea of a European arts festival in Lusatia since 2017. Funded by the German government and hosted by the Free State of Saxony and the State of Brandenburg, the performative Lusatia Festival aims to establish a culture-based concept of Europe from the geographical centre of Europe by interpreting and breaking down structural change through art as a universal theme of humanity. As the founding director of the new festival, Kühnel is pursuing a contemporary, wide-ranging programme policy that aims to release the region's potential through art in a variety of ways and thereby also inspire new audiences from all over Europe to come to Lusatia. Theatrical premieres, top-class instrumental and vocal musicians, film series, readings, jazz, the finest visual art and an elaborate and unusual series of talks are intended to establish Lusatia as a first-class European space for experience and thought.  

Kühnel is professor of programming, performative concepts and musical organisation at the Hamburg University of Music and Theatre, speaks German, Hebrew, English, Romanian and Italian and is the father of four children.