German conductor Michael Gielen was born in 1927 in Dresden, Germany and emigrated to Argentina in 1940 with his family. Musical director of the Royal Opera in Stockholm 1960, chief conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra 1968, later chief conductor of the Dutch opera until 1975. He has worked with the majority of Europe's major orchestras. Foreign tours have taken him around the world.
With the beginning of the 1986/87 season Gielen assumed the position of chief conductor of the SWR Symphony Orchestra Baden-Baden and Freiburg. Under his direction the orchestra gained international reputation. Since 2002 honorary conductor for life of the orchestra.