In 2013 the International Baroque Festival at Melk Abbey announced the appointment of Michael Schade as its new artistic director. Although Schade's vision for the festival is closely linked to its traditions, his approach to this exceptional genius loci is with energy, humour, esprit – and without preconceptions. Besides this aspiration to music of the highest standard, he is also emphatic about the promotion of upcoming talent. Audiences will therefore encounter a sensory world that goes far beyond a traditional concert experience.
Michael Schade has felt a close affinity with the spirit and repertoire of early music ever since his early years as a chorister with the famous schola cantorum of Saint Michael's Choir School in Toronto. The music at mass each week by composers like Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, William Byrd and Heinrich Schütz left a deep impression on the young tenor. He was also profoundly inspired by Tomaso Albinoni as well as an opera production of Emilio de' Cavalieri's "La Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo" with the Canadian Opera Company: these aroused his passion for this genre and were of great importance for tenor's career. He also gained early experience in Jean-Philippe Rameau's opera "Pygmalion" with the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra in Toronto, followed by Handel's Semele and finally the role of Tamino in "The Magic Flute" with Opera Atelier in Toronto.
In the mean time, Michael Schade is now celebrated the world over as one of leading tenors of our time. He has performed at all the major concert halls, lieder venues and opera houses, and built up an immense repertoire. The places to which his engagements have taken him include the Vienna, Bavarian and Hamburg state operas, the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Teatro alla Scala, and the Opéra de Paris, as well to Vienna's Musikverein and Konzerthaus, to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Wigmore Hall in London, the Carnegie Hall in New York, as well as to the festivals of Salzburg, Grafenegg, Verbier and the Vienna Festival. His concert repertoire ranges from Monteverdi to Mahler's "Song of the Earth".
In the field of opera, he has established milestones especially in the Mozart fach, and has recently sung not only Idomeneo, but also roles such as Peter Grimes, Florestan in "Fidelio" and Des Grieux in "Manon". The singer has been honoured with many awards, including the Austrian title of Kammersänger, and is now intensifying his orientation towards Richard Wagner. At the same time, he is especially dedicated to the promotion of the younger generation of singers and musicians, for whose benefit he is involved in special programmes (Young Singers Project in Salzburg) and competitions (Stella Maris, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer Competition).
In the field of the early music, his continuing career as been distinguished by international successes with concerts and recordings with great names such as Trevor Pinnock, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington and in particular Helmuth Rilling, with whom he has sung a number of Bach cantatas, oratorios and above all the Evangelists in the great Bach Passions throughout the world. All this led to the most significant encounter of his career: with Nikolaus Harnoncourt and "his" Concentus Musicus Wien. This fruitful collaboration and close affinity have since been extended to a large number of international concert appearances, as well as tours with solo programmes and opera productions. These have taken him from Salzburg to Japan, and finally to Melk. Here Michael Schade sees his calling in ensuring the continued existence and enrichment of this centre of research, a task in which the Concentus Musicus Wien will assume a substantial role as the "crown jewel of Austrian culture".