The German conductor, Markus Stenz, studied at the Hochschule für Musik in Köln bei Volker Wangenheim and a scholarship in Tanglewood with instruction with Leonard Bernstein und Seiji Ozawa.
Markus Stenz directed the Cantiere Internazionale d'Arte in Montepulciano from 1989 to 1995, and was the principal conductor of the London Sinfonietta, the most renowned British ensemble for contemporary music, from 1994 to 1998. In 1998 he was appointed as the artistic director and principal conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. After intensive work in Australia and the USA the sought-after conductor concentrates recently his world-wide activities again on Europe.
On the concert podiums Markus Stenz led such renowned orchestras as the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Tonhalle Orchester Zürich, Münchner Philharmoniker, Staatskapelle Berlin, Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Ensemble Modern and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Also in Scandinavia, he conducted on major orchestras such as the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonischen Orchester Helsinki and Sinfonieorchester Gothenburg. In the USA he worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Among the productions, which Markus Stenz conducted as an opera conductor, are Mozart's Don Giovanni for the English National Opera and Le nozze di Figaro in Los Angeles, Gioacchino Rossini's Il Turco in Italia at the Stadttheater Basel, Kurt Weill's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny at the Staatstheater Stuttgart, Hans Zender's Stephen Climax, Alexander von Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg and Eine florentinische Tragödie at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress at the San Francisco Opera, as well as the highly-esteemed production of Wolfgang Rihm's Die Eroberung von Mexiko at the Oper in Frankfurt. Im summer 2004 he made a successful debut with Leoš Janácek's Jenufa at the Glyndebourne Festival. After his debut at the Kölner Oper with L.v. Beethoven's Fidelio, he had successes in 2004-2005 season with Richard Strauss' Salome, the Köln's premiere of Detlev Glanert's Scherz, Satire, Ironie und tiefere Bedeutung, as well as Mozart's Idomeneo. In the following season he conducted on Hans Werner Henze's Die Bassariden, Engelbert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel, the premiere of Jan Müller-Wieland's Der Held der westlichen Welt, as well as Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen.
Markus Stenz has a special affinity to the music of Hans Werner Henze. In 1990 he conducted the premiere performance of Das verratene Meer at the Deutschen Oper Berlin and the Italian premiere of this work at the Teatro de La Scala in Milan, as well as the American premiere of at the San Francisco Opera. In 1997 he conducted the premiere performance of Venus und Adonis at the Bayerischen Staatsoper München. In addition came the performances of Die englische Katze (Hebbel-Theater Berlin), Elegie für junge Liebende (La Fenice, Venice) and Die Bassariden (Staatsoper Hamburg). In summer 2003 he conducted at the Salzburg Festival a perfrmance of Henze's L'Upupa und der Triumph der Sohnesliebe with the Wiener Philharmoniker.
Markus Stenz made his debut at the Kölner Philharmonie in 1996 with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln. In February 2000 he directed a concert of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra there, in September 2002 the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie. In June 2001 he gave his debut with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln.