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a candle for my son!

Ioan Holender
Director of Vienna State Opera

Born: July 18, 1935, in Timisoara, Romania

Since 1959 lives in Austria 

Married. Two sons. One daughter (b.1998)


  • After baccalaureate, studied for three years machines engineering, specialty steam machines, at Timisoara Polytechnic Institute
  • 1956 - while in third year of studies, was expelled from the whole Romanian higher education system on political grounds, following his participation at students movements
  • 1959-1962 -  studied Canto at Vienna Conservatoire


  • 1956- 1959 - Tennis trainer, stage director assistant
  • 1962-1966 - Opera baritone and concert singer,  including two seasons with State Theater in Klagenfurt
  • 1966 - entered Starka Theater Agency, that he took over in a few years and, under the name of Holender Opera Agency, made it one of the most important German Agencies
  • 1988 - at Eberhard Waechters' proposal, at that time Director of Vienna State Opera, was appointed General Secretary of both Vienna State and Popular Operas
  • Since 1 April 1992, after Eberhard Waechters unexpected death, appointed director of both Opera Houses. On first renewal of his contract with Vienna State Opera, he asked to be dispensed from his responsibilities with Vienna Popular Opera. So, the contract was renewed till 31 August 2002, then till 31 August 2005 and recently State Secretary Morak established a new term for 31 August 2007
  • Teaches at Vienna University Institute of Theater-, Film- and Media Sciences

Prizes and Awards

  • Honorary Member of the Romanian Academy
  • Doctor Honoris Causa of "Gheorghe Dima" Music Academy, Cluj-Napoca
  • Golden Medal of Merit awarded by Vienna Municipality
  • Golden Medal for Services rendered to Vienna Community
  • Golden Honorary Medal of the Austrian Republic
  • Grand Golden Honorary Medal of Austrian Republic
  • Austrian Honorary Cross for Science and Art, First Class
  • Officer of the Order for Arts and Letters" of the French Republic for the services rendered to the French culture
  • Prize for a long life activity dedicated to culture and for the contribution to the assertion of the Romanian values throughout the world, awarded by the Romanian Cultural Foundation
  • Honorary Member of Vienna State Opera and Vienna Popular Opera (Volksoper Wien)
  • Clemens-Krauss Medal of Vienna State Opera Concerts Union
  • Honorary Citizen of his native town, Timisoara
  • "Franz-Schalk Gold Medal awarded by Vienna Philharmonic



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