Born in Schleiz, Thüringen, Germany, Bernhard Klee grew up in Jena and Leipzig where he was a member of the world famous boys’ choir of the Thomaskirche, one of the four churches for which J.S. Bach supervised liturgical music as Kantor of Leipzig. He went on to study piano, composition, conducting and chamber music at the Music Academy of Cologne. He began his professional career at the Cologne Opera under Otto Ackermann and Wolfgang Sawallisch, and later worked for a time as assistant to both Karl Böhm and Herbert von Karajan.
At the age of twenty-nine Mr. Klee was appointed General Music Director of the opera house in Lübeck, a post that he held for seven years, followed by chief positions with the NDR Symphony in Hannover (1976 – 79) and the Düsseldorf Symphony (1977 – 87). From 1985 – 1989 he also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manchester.
Throughout his career Bernhard Klee has been invited to conduct many of Europe’s leading orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Symphony and the Royal Concertgebouw, as well as the major radio orchestras of Italy, the Netherlands, France, Japan, Germany and Scandinavia. A notable conductor of opera, he has led performances at many European houses including Hamburg, Munich, Berlin, Geneva and at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He has also appeared at major international festivals such as Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne, Berlin, Helsinki, Holland and the BBC Proms.
In addition to his European commitments, Bernhard Klee has worked extensively in North America with such orchestras as the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, National Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic.
A notable recording artist, Mr. Klee has compiled an impressive discography on the Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, Koch-Schwann, Teldec and Sony Classical labels