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Musical career

Johanna Weitkamp (conductor) majored in orchestral conducting at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy University of Music and Theater in Leipzig, Germany, under its music director Professor Olaf Koch. She completed various conducting masterclasses by Kurt Masur, Rolf Reuter, Otmar Suitner, and Heinz Rögner at the International Music Seminars in Weimar. Besides a degree in orchestral conducting, Weitkamp also has a degree in répétiteur studies, with a major in piano and a minor in bassoon.

While still a student, Weitkamp had two seasons as a répétiteur at the Meiningen Theater, Thuringia. She then had seven seasons as the first deputy musical director at the Elbe-Elster-Theater in Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt. After that, she was engaged by the Musiktheater im Revier in Gelsenkirchen, first as guest conductor and later as principal répétiteur.

Having graduated in business informatics in 1993, Weitkamp spent three years in Frankfurt as a developer of listed derivatives software for the private banking market before joining SAP on January 1, 1997.

On April 1 that year, she founded the SAP Symphony Orchestra and was its principal conductor and managing director until March 31, 2020. During this time, she took the orchestra from modest beginnings to ambitious concert programs, attracting celebrated soloists such as Rolando Villazon and playing in prestigious concert venues ranging from the rococo theater in nearby Schwetzingen to the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.

In 2002, Weitkamp founded the SAP Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra as a sub-ensemble of the SAP Symphony Orchestra. It performed until 2012, when it merged back into the symphony orchestra. Weitkamp and the chamber orchestra worked with the Ulm Chamber Opera (music director: Reinhard Geilert) on a number of musical theater productions for children (based on Mozart’s Bastien und Bastienne, The Abduction from the Seraglio, The Marriage of Figaro, and Don Giovanni, and Cui’s Puss in Boots).

In 2002, Weitkamp set up the SAP Chamber Opera and, for a number of years, teamed up with experienced opera director and drama teacher Erika Solbrig to offer opera workshops for amateur singers at SAP.

Weitkamp is always busy working on new texts for compositions that include a narrator (for example, Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel) and adaptations for semi‑staged productions (Mozart’s Magic Flute, Rimski-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri). Besides piano, she plays a number of other instruments in chamber music ensembles.

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