Prof. Klaus Zehelein

Klaus Zehelein was born in Frankfurt am Main on 5 September 1940. After taking his school-leaving exam, he studied German Language and Literature, Musicology and Philosophy at the University of Frankfurt am Main. He obtained his first position as dramaturge in 1967 at the Bühnen der Landeshauptstadt Kiel. In 1970 he transferred to the Staatstheater Oldenburg as chief dramaturge, remaining there until 1977, while at the same time taking on a teaching position as professor of Music Sociology at the University of Oldenburg. In 1977 he became head dramaturge at Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt am Main, later becoming coordinating director with responsibility for operatic productions. During this time, he also held teaching positions at the State University of Minnesota and the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris. He has held visiting professorships at the University of Giessen (Institute for Applied Theatre Studies), and from 1986 to 1992 at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. After two years of freelance activity as a dramaturge and opera producer in Berlin, Frankfurt, Brussels and Vienna, he was appointed Artistic Director of the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg in 1989. In 1991 he moved to Stuttgart to direct the opera there. In recognition of his activities as dramaturge at the Frankfurt Opera he received the Deutscher Kritikerpreis in 1983. In 2001 Minister President Erwin Teufel awarded him the Order of Merit of the Federal State of Baden-Württemberg for his exceptional contributions to the cultural life of the region. Mr Zehelein was President of the German Theatre Association from 2003 to 2015.