Rudolf Piehlmayer was born in Straubing, Germany, and studied piano, clarinet, and conducting at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in München. In 1986 he won the sponsorship of the C.M.v. Weber Contest as well as the Felix Mottl Competition in Munich, and in 1987 he won the International Weber Contest for clarinet in Warsaw. After a scholarship in the orchestra seminar of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, he became a solo clarinettist with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. During that period he studied conducting under Prof. Hermann Michael and graduated with an artist’s diploma summa cum laude. During his studies at the music university he attended master classes with Leonard Bernstein and Sergiu Celibidache.
In 1991 he was engaged as a solo/soloist coach at the Regensburg Theatre, and made his operatic conducting debut there with Humperdinck’s Hansel und Gretel. Soon thereafter he was appointed First Kapellmeister and then Assistant General Musical Director. In 1994 he was granted sponsorship by the State of Bavaria.
From 2002-2009 Maestro Piehlmayer was General Music Director of the City of Augsburg and conducted the symphonic concerts presented by the Augsburg Philharmonic. Because he took over at short notice the première of Gisbert Nähter’s The Little Prince with Mario Adorf and the orchestra of the Deutche Oper Berlin, he was invited to be a guest conductor for additional performances. He led, for instance, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer.
In January 2002, he debuted at the Leipzig Opera, conducting the re-staging of Richard Strauss’ Rosenkavalier with the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
In March 2004, he conducted Bruckner’s 8th Symphony with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in a dance version choreographed by Uwe Scholz. And in 2006, he led several ballet performances there, including Mozart’s Jeunehomme Concerto and the 2nd Symphony of Robert Schumann. During the Culture Days 2004 in Salzburg, he conducted Strauss’ Salome with the Mozarteum Orchestra in the Salzburg Festspielhaus.
In July 2005, Maestro Piehlmayer led the Philharmonic Orchestra of Augsburg in the highly acclaimed Augsburg première of Gustav Mahler’s 8th Symphony on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of the Augsburger Religionsfrieden (Augsburg Religious Peace). For this performance he was awarded the special Augsburg Theatre Prize 2005.
At the Herrenchiemsee Festival in August 2005, he was invited to conduct the Sinfonia Varsovia with works of Strauss, Wagner and Berlioz.
Maestro Piehlmayer was Permanent Guest Conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Leipzig Opera from 2007 to 2010, conducting over 80 performances. His repertoire in Leipzig included Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, Verdi’s La Traviata, Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, and Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Ballet productions of The Nutcracker, Giselle and Uwe Scholz’s productions of Bruckner’s 8th Symphony and Schumann’s 2nd Symphony rounded out his stay in Leipzig.
A CD world premiere recording of the Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra of Swiss composer David Philip Hefti, with the oboist Thomas Indermühle and the Augsburg Philharmonic was released in June 2010 under the label NEOS. Previously, a new recording of Max Reger’s Mozart Variations and Meinrad Schmitt’s Im Zeichen der Venus with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra / Bayerische Staatsphilharmonie was completed in January 2008 for Bavarian Radio.
Numerous CD recordings were released during Maestro Piehlmayer’s tenure as Music Director of the Augsburg Philharmonic from 2002-2009, including a CD for young people (Cavalli Records LC 50724) with Meinrad Schmitt’s Crespino and King Tulipan and Maurice Ravel’s Mother Goose.
In 2006 the international label EMI recorded Fantasia Italia with virtuoso works of Antonio Pasculli for oboe and orchestra. The recording features the oboist Christoph Hartmann with the Augsburg Philharmonic and was released in 2007.
Maestro Piehlmayer conducted a new production of Massenet’s Werther in January 2011 at the Magdeburg Opera. For the Norske Opera Oslo he conducted a new Die Zauberflöte production that was the opening of their 2011/2012 opera season. This Die Zauberflöte was a co-production with National Centre of Performing Arts Peking and the Hong Kong Opera.
In September 2012 he conducted three concerts with the Musashino Akademia Musicae from Tokyo while they were touring in Bavaria with Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikowsky’s 6th Symphony.
Since 2013 Maestro Piehlmayer has been working at international music universities such as the Norwegian Academy of Music Oslo, Norway (Oboe Concerto of Richard Strauss and the 1st Symphony of Johannes Brahms) and as a guest conductor on the faculty of the Musashino Academia Musicae of Tokyo from July until September 2014.
At the beginning of 2015, he conducted Wagner’s Lohengrin with the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne at the Opéra de Rennes which was followed by a highly acclaimed Lohengrin at the Opèra Rouen Haut-Normandie in May 2015.