Born in Munich in 1965, after ballet training he studied drama, comparative literature, Romance studies and musicology. After working for Bayerischer Rundfunk and ARD, as a music and dance critic for Süddeutsche Zeitung, editor of Opernwelt, Wochenpost und Tagesspiegel, since 1998 he has been on the arts and music desk of Die Welt, with responsibility for other media since 2017. In 1999 he received the critics’ prize of the Salzburg Festival. Among his book publications are “Die neuen Sängerstimmen” (2003), “Opernregisseure heute” (2006) and “Rolando Villazón – Die Kunst, Tenor zu sein” (2008).
Dr. Eleonore Büning
Born in Frankfurt/Main, she learned violin and piano, studied musicology, comparative literature and dramatics at Freie Universität Berlin, and wrote her PhD on the early reception of Beethoven. Initially, she worked as a freelance journalist for a number of newspapers (such as Weltwoche, taz, Rheinischer Merkur) and radio stations (SFB, SWR, SDR, WDR to name a few). From 1994 to 1997 she was music editor of Die Zeit, from 1997 to 2018 of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, since then she has been freelancing again. She has published books and been a member of various juries (e.g. chair of the German Record Critics’ Award). Since 2016 she has been on the advisory board of the German Music Competition (Deutscher Musikwettbewerb), in 2018 she became an honorary member of the German Music Council (Deutscher Musikrat). She has been awarded the “Joseph-Roth-Preis” (Klagenfurt), the “Heidelberger Musikpreis” and “Pro-Musica-Viva-Preis” (Mainz).
He was born in Cologne and studied musicology and dramatics. He entered journalism at Deutschlandradio Kultur, Deutschlandfunk and Bayerischer Rundfunk before returning to Berlin, freelancing for Deutschlandfunk and other ARD radio stations on the music scene, with a special focus on opera. He writes for Der Tagesspiegel and a number of specialist magazines, produces music features and is happy to teach younger colleagues through seminars. Uwe Friedrich lives in Berlin and The Hague.
Georg Kasch studied modern German literature, theatre studies and cultural journalism in Berlin and Munich. Since 2010 he has been an editor at nachtkritik.de in Berlin, where he is responsible for musical theatre, among other things. He also writes for daily newspapers and magazines. He teaches at universities in Berlin and Munich and was a member of the jury for the Federal Theatre Prize, the Berlin Senate Jury for Performing Arts and Dance and the jury for the Berlin Theatertreffen. His areas of focus include the future of cultural journalism, queerness in opera and inclusive dramaturgies.
Dr. Kai Luehrs-Kaiser
Born in Bremen, since 1999 he has been writing for all the important German daily papers as well as for Oper!, Fono Forum, Musik & Theater, Rondo, Tip of Berlin and rbb Kultur. For the latter he has been presenting, since 2008, the weekly feature “Music City Berlin”. He is a jury member of the annual and quarterly sessions of the German Record Critics’ Award (since 2012). He lives in Berlin and Vienna.
Dr. Ulrich Ruhnke
Dr Ulrich Ruhnke studied art history, musicology, philosophy and cultural management in Cologne and Berlin. At the same time, he worked as a journalist for various newspapers and specialist journals. In 2002, he joined the editorial board of the professional journal “das Orchester” (Schott Verlag). In 2015, he founded his own publishing company and initiated the new professional magazine OPER! In 2019, Dr Ulrich Ruhnke launched the OPER! AWARDS, Germany’s only publicly awarded industry prize. Ruhnke lives in Berlin and Munich.
Born in 1977 in Wiesbaden, he studied composition and law in Essen, Mainz and Cologne, followed by advanced studies in cultural journalism at the Bayerische Theaterakademie in Munich. After cutting his teeth as a freelancer, he worked as editor for Fono Forum magazine from 2008 until 2015, followed by a position as research assistant at the Deutsches Musikinformationszentrum (German Music Information Centre, MIZ) in Bonn. Since moving to southern Germany he has been working as a freelancer and, since 2017, as editor of OPER!.
Franziska Stürz comes from Munich, studied singing with KS Ingeborg Hallstein at the University of Music Würzburg and is an alumna of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation). As a soprano, she has been onstage at notable opera houses and international music festivals. Since 2005 she has also worked as a music journalist with a focus on musical theatre and Lied. She regularly reports for radio stations Deutschlandfunk and Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and is editor of BR Klassik’s weekly feature “Operetten-Boulevard”.
Manfred Strohscheer Stiftung
Dr. Marion Knauf
Ulrike Benz & Walter Sandvoss