Biography English (long)
Innovation, passion, and versatility are the hallmarks of India born Danish conductor Maria Badstue, praised as “one of the best young Danish conductors of today,” (Berlingske Media). An accessible collaborator and innate communicator, Ms. Badstue’s popularity as a guest conductor outside of the Nordic countries continues to grow. In addition to her work as Artistic Director and Founder for Nordic Masterclass for Conductors and INDK Symphonic Collaboration, two acclaimed initiatives that she launched in 2012 and 2018 respectively, she is also the co-founder of Copenhagen’s The Ørestad Klassiske MusikFestival, a three-year-old music festival focusing on youth and the environment.
2023 season summer engagements include the tenth anniversary of Ms. Badstue’s acclaimed Nordic Masterclass for Conductors in Denmark and conducting Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana for the SOI Scuola dell’Opera Italiana Fiorenza Cedolins & Voice Competition in June; the long awaited debut performance of her INDK symphonic collaboration with Symphony Orchestra of India (SOI) hosted by India’s premier cultural institution, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, India, July 28; and guesting at Poland’s Corno Brass Music Festival in Zeilona Gora in August. 2023-24 season highlights include serving on the jury of the 2024 Jorma Panula Conducting Competition; guesting with Denmark’s Odense Symphony and the Copenhagen Philharmonic; making her debut with France’s Orchestre national de Metz Grand Est conducting Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring; and a second INDK symphonic collaboration in India with SOI.
Recent highlights include debuts with Italy’s Orchestre di Padova e del Veneto, France’s Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice and her US debut with the Portland Opera conducting Kamala Sankaram’s THUMBPRINT by Kamala Sankaram, for which Northwest Reverb stated that she “…impressively guided the chamber orchestra….” Regarding her return to Theater und Orchester Neubrandenburg / Neustrelitz leading Samuel Barber’s Vanessa, Das Orchester praised “The perceptive Danish conductor Maria Badstue, understands how to expressively shape the turmoil of emotions, the charm of seduction, the restless waiting, the comforting gesture, the retreat into inner loneliness with a refined intuition… A stunned silence in the audience is followed by prolonged applause.” Ms. Badstue also participated in Stavanger’s The Conductors Week ("Dirigentuka"); a special presentation and Q & A at CINEMATEKET of the documentary The Long Way to the Podium featuring soprano Barbara Hannigan, and Ms. Badstue’s mentor, conductor Marin Alsop, and served as a guest speaker at University of Oxford's Oxford International Conducting Institutem.
Amongst the orchestras with which she has appeared are the South Denmark Philharmonic, Odense Symphony Orchestra, the Randers Chamber Players, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra/Det Kongelige, Svenska Kvinnoorkestern (with guest soloist Dame Evelyn Glennie), Danish National Chamber Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Odense and Aalborg, Sweden’s Gothenburg, Helsingborg, and Malmö symphonies, Orkester Norden, Kristiansand Symphony, and the Romanian Radio Orchestra.
As comfortable in the pit as she is on the podium, Maria Badstue is a staunch supporter of modern opera. Recent opera highlights include her German opera conducting debut leading performances of Viktor Ullmann’s Der Kaiser Von Atlantis at Theater und Orchester Neubrandenburg / Neustrelitz; performances of Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte at Copenhagen’s Koncertkirken with musicians from the Royal Danish Opera and Nontardar; and appearing at the Copenhagen Opera Festival at Den Røde Plads / BLOX Copenhagen. She has also performed with the Copenhagen Phil and the Royal Danish Orchestra. She made her acclaimed 2018 Swedish opera debut with a 14-performance run of Massenet’s Don Quixote and a gala performance with FolkOperan in Stockholm, and in 2015 led the Copenhagen premiere production of John Frandsen’s A Doll’s House with the Athelas Sinfonietta. She made her opera debut in 2012 premiering Lars Klit’s Angelo – La Opera in Copenhagen.
Sought after for her communicative abilities both on and off the podium, Ms. Badstue's strong belief in the power of music has manifested itself in two successful initiatives to date. Both INDK Symphonic Collaboration and Nordic Masterclass for Conductors promote classical music as both an art form and as an important part of society. Hosted by India’s premier cultural institution, the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Mumbai, in collaboration with the Symphony Orchestra of India, INDK's programme, “A Symphonic Collaboration Between India and Denmark” launched in 2018. Aiming to strengthen relations between the two countries through culture, the initiative is set in Mumbai and will feature classical musicians from both countries. The collaboration’s debut, delayed by COVID-19, takes place this 2023-24 season, with its first concert July 28, 2023, and the second April 2024.
A proponent for education in the conducting field, in 2012 Ms. Badstue founded the Nordic Masterclass for Conductors, today considered one of the most important conducting masterclasses in Europe. In collaboration with distinguished Professor Jorma Panula and the South Denmark Philharmonic, Ms. Badstue creates possibilities for young conductors to develop their craft.
The recipient of a prestigious 2019-2021 Taki Alsop Conducting Fellowship (TACF), Ms. Badstue is mentored by TACF Founder and internationally renowned conductor Marin Alsop She has served as assistant conductor to both Esa-Pekka Salonen (Philharmonia Orchestra, 2016/2017 season), and to Michael Boder (Wiener Staatsoper, production of Hindemith's Cardillac, 2015). A prizewinner in the 5th Lovro von Matatic Competition with the Croatian Radio and Television Orchestra, Ms. Badstue is a recipient of the Sonning Talent Prize, an Augustinus Foundation Jubilee Grant, and a Hämeenlinna City Orchestra Conductors Stipend. A member of Denmark’s Kraks Blaa Bog (Who’s Who) since 2015, she has twice been awarded the Danish Conductors Association’s Arne Hammelboe Scholarship Grant. She also has the distinction of being only the second alumna to be named an honorary student at Thisted Gymnasium (her former high school).
A trained trumpetist, Maria Badstue worked professionally as a trumpetist in Denmark and Finland before focusing on a career in conducting. She holds master’s degrees in Orchestral Conducting from the Norwegian State Academy, and in Trumpet Performance from the Danish National Academy of Music. She has participated in masterclasses with Bernard Haitink and George Hurst. Rooted in the Finnish School of Orchestral Conducting, Ms. Badstue's major conducting teachers include Jorma Panula (with whom she also studied privately), Jukka-Pekka Saraste and Ole Kristian Ruud. Her mentors include Jorma Panula and Marin Alsop. When not conducting abroad, Ms. Badstue resides in Copenhagen.