Obituary: Music & Opera Director Gerd Uecker Dies at 77

By Francisco Salazar

On Jan. 17, 2024, Music and Opera Director Gerd Uecker died at the age of 77.

Born on Sept. 15, 1946, Uecker studied piano, music education, and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München. Following his studies, he began working as a solo repetiteur at the Cologne Opera in 1969 and in 1970 he received a teaching assignment for opera at the Rheinisches Musikkonservatorium in Cologne.

In 1973, Uecker was appointed the Music Director and head of the opera department of the Southeast Bavarian Städtetheater in Passau and later became the Bayerische Staatsoper’s Music Director. He became the Director of the opera house in 1988 he took over the position of Artistic Director and Deputy Director General. In 1993 he was named Interim Artistic Director of the State Opera and later was appointed opera director and responsible for the management of the opera house in the Bavarian capital.

Uecker also became the Managing Director of the Semeperoper Dresden during the 2023-24 season and remained with teh company until 2010.

According to the opera house in Dresden, “The distinguished opera specialist maintained and expanded the classical repertoire, enriched the repertoire with groundbreaking works, many of which were related to the city of Dresden, and offered contemporary opera a large stage. He was particularly interested in promoting young talent – with the Young Ensemble he established a successful model that today opens the doors to an international career for many young singers.”

Throughout his career, Uecker was also chairman of the German Opera Conference, Chairman of the University Council of the Musikhochschule Lübeck and taught in Venice, Beijing, and Stuttgart and was an honorary professor at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and at the Bayerische Theaterakademie August Everding.