The Danish conductor, Thomas Dausgaard, studied music there at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and later at the Royal College of Music, London.
After holding minor posts and freelancing as a conductor in Scandinavia in his early career, Thomas Dausgaard received his first major appointment in 1997, that of Principal Conductor of the Örebro-based Swedish Chamber Orchestra. In 2001 he debuted at the Proms in London with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and went on to conduct many orchestras in the U.K., including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Also in 2001, he added a second prestigious post when he accepted the appointment as Principal Guest conductor of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DNSO). He served in that capacity until 2004 when he was elevated to that ensemble's Principal Conductor, the first Danish conductor to hold the post. He conducted both the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra at the 2010 Proms. His first major recording was made with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the 1998 "Bach to the Future", a Chandos disc containing the title work by Nørgård and various pieces by other composers. In June 2011, he was named honorary Conductor as he stepped down from his position with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. He is also is also Honorary Conductor of the Orchestra della Toscana (ORT).
In May 2017, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra announced that Thomas Dausgaard is to conclude his tenure as principal conductor after the 2018-2019 season, and subsequently to take the title of conductor laureate with the orchestra. Dausgaard first guest-conducted the Seattle Symphony Orchestra in March 2013. In October 2013, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra named Dausgaard its next Principal Guest conductor, effective with the 2014-2015 season, with an initial contract of 3 years. In March 2016, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra announced the extension of Dausgaard's contract as Principal Guest Conductor through the 2019-2020 season. In March 2015, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Dausgaard as its next Chief Conductor, effective with the 2016-2017 season. In October 2017, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Dausgaard as its next music director, effective with the 2019-2020 season, with an initial contract of 4 seasons. From the 2019-2020 season he will be its Music Director.
Thomas Dausgaard has regularly toured the major cities of Europe with both his ensembles. He also regularly appears as guest conductor with the world’s leading orchestras, including in recent seasons in Europe the Münchner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Dresden Staatskapelle, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Berlin Konzerthaus Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Salzburg Mozarteum Orchester, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. He began his North American career assisting Seiji Ozawa, and has since appeared with some of the leading American orchestras, including the Baltimore Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Washington National Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Montreal Symphony. He is also a regular visitor to Asia and Australia, appearing in recent seasons with the Singapore, New Japan Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Symphony. Festival appearances have included the BBC Proms, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Salzburg Festival, Mostly Mozart, the George Enescu Festival, and Tanglewood.
Thomas Dausgaard is renowned for his creativity and innovation in programming, the excitement of his live performances, and his extensive catalogue of critically-acclaimed recordings. While developing a broad repertoire that has taken in music from most periods, is associated with the works of composers from his native Denmark, as well as those from elsewhere in Scandinavia, in particular Sweden. Indeed, he has devoted most of his recording activity to works by composers from Denmark and Sweden - mostly contemporary ones - and has held important conducting posts in both countries. Dausgaard's concert programs and discography are replete with names like Bent Sørensen, Johan Svendsen, Dag Wirén, August Enna, but particularly Rued Langgaard, Per Nørgård (he is the dedicatee of Nørgård's composition Terrains Vagues), and Asger Hamerik.
As a recording artist, Thomas Dausgaard enjoys long-standing relationships with the BIS and Da Capo labels and his recordings have appeared on a variety of other labels, including Chandos, Simax. and Virgin Classics. He has made over 70 CD's, including complete cycles of symphonies by L.v. Beethoven (Simax) for which he has received lavish critical praise, Schubert, Robert Schumann (2 CD's on BIS) and Rued Langgaard, and the For the Chandos and Da Capo labels, he has conducted several recordings of Danish and other Scandinavian music, including works by Per Nørgård, Johan Svendsen, Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann, Rued Langgaard, Dag Wirén, Franz Berwald, August Enna and Asger Hamerik. He also recorded works of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for Da Capo. All these recordings were highly praised. “Opening Doors”, his ongoing series for BIS with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, has consistently won praise for performances of 19th-century repertoire more usually associated with symphony orchestras. His most recent release is a critically acclaimed recording of Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 10 (Deryck Cooke version III) with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra. Currently, with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, he is completing a Johannes Brahms cycle and a project that combines J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (BWV 1046-1051) with a set of six newly commissioned companion works - both for BIS. Future recording plainclude works by Bent Sørensen with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Among his recordings is the 2007 BIS CD of Dvorák's Symphonies No. 6 and No. 9, with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra. He continues to promote Danish music both on stage and on record. In 2010, Dacapo released a DVD of Rued Langgaard's opera Antikrist, conducted by Dausgaard.
Thomas Dausgaard has been awarded the Cross of Chivalry by the Queen of Denmark, and elected to the Royal Academy of Music in Sweden. His interests beyond music are wide-ranging, and include a fascination with the life and culture of remote communities: he has visited head-hunting tribes in Borneo, volunteered as a farmer in China and stayed with villagers on an island in the South Pacific. Currently he lives in Denmark with his family. He is married to Helle Hentzer and has three sons.