Thomas Sanderling was born in Novosibirsk and grew up in St.Petersburg, where his father Kurt Sanderling was a conductor of St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. After graduating from the Special Music School of Leningrad Conservatory he studied conducting at the Hochschule fuer Musik in East-Berlin.
After Shostakovich heard him with the State Orchestra of Russia, the composer asked Thomas Sanderling to give the German premieres of his 13th and 14th symphonies and this relationship led to his world premiere recording of ‘The Michelangelo Suite’, Shostakovich’s last orchestral work. Following this great success he became assistant to Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan.
Thomas Sanderling has conducted extensively on the international stage, with orchestras in North America including the National Dallas, Baltimore and Vancouver Symphonies, in Europe with the Royal Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki Philharmonics, and in the UK — the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic. He is also a regular guest conductor of Radio Orchestras in the UK, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. From 1984 to 1986 he was principal conductor of the Amsterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1992 he became a Music Director of Osaka Symphony Orchestra. This Orchestra recently awarded Thomas Sanderling with the title Music Director Laureate for Lifetime. In August 2017 Thomas Sanderling became an Artistic Director and Chief Conductor at the Novosibirsk Philharmonic Orchestra, where he has been a regular guest since 2002.
Thomas Sanderling is equally acclaimed for his opera work. He was Permanent Guest Conductor of Deutsche Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin from 1978 to 1983 (when he moved to the West), and at Bayerische Staatsoper, Frankfurt, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera and Finnish National opera. In 2004 he became the Principal Guest Conductor of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia.
Thomas Sanderling's recent activities and future plans include: concerts with Staatskapelle Dresden, the National State Philharmonic in Budapest, with the Slovak Philharmonic in Bratislava, Tokyo Kosei and with the Radio Philharmonish at the Concertgebouw, as well as concerts in Russia: with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Thomas Sanderling has also conducted the revival of Richard Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, as well as Wagner’s Der Fliegende Hollaender at the Tchaikovski Opera. CD released with London Philharmonic Orchestra and violinist Linus Roth received ECHO Klassik Award 2017. On the way are concerts with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra in Moscow, and a concert with the China National Philharmonic and a special program of post war musical highlights with Gidon Kremer at Brucknerhaus Linz, including the Genesis Suite (Stravisky, Schoenberg, Milhaud etc).
Thomas Sanderling has been championing the music of Mieczysław Weinberg for many years. He has conducted the world premieres of the “Requiem” with the Liverpool Philharmonic and in 2013 the composer´s last opera “The Idiot” at the National Theater Mannheim.