German-Polish conductor Marek Janowski has forged a solid, mostly European-based career by largely disengaging himself from the fast-track musical life. Disturbed by the dominance of regietheater in Europe, he vacated the opera pit in the early '90s to concentrate on his symphonic repertory. In the new millennium, he assumed directorships of two second-tier, but potentially splendid orchestras: one in Germany, the other in Monte Carlo, seeking in each instance to expand their repertories and build new audiences.
After completing his studies, Janowski applied himself to the nineteenth century regimen that had produced the best-prepared conductors. Serving as a répétiteur in Aachen for a year, he moved to a similar position in Cologne for two seasons. In two years at Düsseldorf, beginning in 1964, he was afforded the opportunity to conduct some performances. After returning to Cologne as first Kapellmeister, he was engaged by Rolf Liebermann in Hamburg. Later, during directorships in Freiburg and Dortmund, Janowski appeared as guest conductor in Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. In the late '70s, Janowski began to appear in American theaters, notably the Metropolitan Opera, and in Chicago and San Francisco. In 1984, he accepted the directorship of the Nouvel Orchestre Philharmonique in Paris (later known as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France). During his 16 years with the Paris orchestra, Janowski raised performance standards and broadened his own repertory, acquiring considerable fluency in a variety of French works. Aside from four years when he also served as music director for Cologne's Gürzenich-Orchester, Janowski devoted himself to Paris, all the while paring down his opera activities. Appreciation for certain French composers, such as Messiaen, Roussel, d'Indy, and Dutilleux, has informed his programming choices for Monte Carlo. With the Dresden Philharmonic, Janowski's other 2001 appointment, a long-term relationship hinged upon the promised construction of a new concert hall. Although Janowski stated that he might consider future opera engagements were he permitted his choice of director, his present loss to opera is a profound one. In 2008, the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin offered Janowski the position of Artistic Director for life, after serving six years in that position. He had also joined Orchestre de la Suisse Romande as Musical Director in 2005, having filled similar positions with Orchestre Philharmonie de Monte-Carlo (2000-2005) and the Dresdener Philharmonie (2001-2003). His discography holds estimable recordings of Fidelio, Strauss' Die schweigsame Frau, Penderecki's The Devils of Loudon, Wagner's Ring, Euryanthe, Oberon, and Hindemith's Die Harmonie der Welt. In addition to the symphonies of Roussel, Janowski's orchestral recordings include Lutoslawski's Concerto for orchestra and Saint-Saëns' Symphony No. 3.