After studying economics and sociology in Cologne, Elmar Weingarten completed his doctorate at the University of Constance in 1975. He has been a researcher and associate professor of sociology at the universities of Düsseldorf, Regensburg and the Freie Universität Berlin. After working at the Sender Freies Berlin network, the Berliner Festspiele and the Niedersächsische Musiktage he was assistant to the Superintendent of the Berliner Philharmoniker. As of 1990 he has been at the head of important institutions, including the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester, Rundfunk-Orchester and -Chöre GmbH in Berlin and the Berliner Philharmoniker (1996-2000). He has been managing director of the Deutsche Ensemble Akademie and the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt. In Zurich he was superintendent of the Tonhalle Zürich (2007-2014) and since 2011 is the chairman and artistic director of the Festspiele Zürich. A member of the board of the Leipzig Bachfest and artistic consultant to the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne (2003-2015), he was also chairman of the board of the “Hanns Eisler” Hochschule für Musik in Berlin between 2004 and 2014. He is regularly invited to chair juries for international competitions, including the ARD-Wettbewerb and the Mitropoulos Competition. In 2020/21 he is a jury member of the International Conducting Competition in Rotterdam.