As a very young man he became an Associate Conductor at the Vienna State Opera, where he worked with some of the world’s pre-eminent conductors, including Claudio Abbado, Lorin Maazel, Michel Plasson, Leonard Slatkin, Riccardo Muti, and in recordings with James Levine. While there, he was coach and accompanist for a number of distinguished singers.
In 1989, Maestro Sollak’s North American conducting debut was with the Minnesota Orchestra. In the ensuing years he has conducted in a number of other cities in the United States and Canada, including acclaimed 2004/5 performances in Toronto (in Roy Thomson Hall), Chicago, Montreal, and Calgary, and in 2005/6 in Providence, Philadelphia (in Verizon Hall of the Kimmel Center), and New York (in Avery Fisher Hall). A debut in Oviedo, Spain, occurred in 2005 and in Madrid 2006.
A variety of other international guest conducting engagements have included concerts with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta y Coro de la cumunidad de Madrid, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Andalucia, the OFNUAM-Orchestra in Mexico City, the Calgary Symphony Orchestra, the Oviedo Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre Capitole du Toulouse, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, the NÖ Tonkünstler-Orchestra, the Austrian Radio Orchestra, the Vienna Chamber Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, The Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg, The Orchestra of Chicao´s Lyric Opera, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Bratislava, the Krakow Philharmonic Orchestra, the Opera Orchestra of Temisoara, Orquesta Sinfonica de Balears, the Czech State Orchestra and the Philharmonic Orchestras of Poznan and Lodz in Poland.
Soloists who have performed under Maestro Sollak’s baton include violinists Itzhak Perlman and Dmitry Sitkovestksy; ‘cellist
Ofra Harnoy; pianists Misha Dichter, Polina Osetinskaya, Nelson Freire, Barbara Moser and Horacio Gutierrez, Guitarist Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey; and singers Ainhoa Arteta, Mirella Freni, Aga Mikolaj, Anna Netrebko, Renata Scotto, Cheryl Studer, Monica Yunus, Hiba al Kawas, Johan Botha, Bernd Weikl, Kurt Rydl, Jerry Hadley, Ferruccio Furlanetto, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo.
Maestro Sollak’s collaborative relationship with Plácido Domingo has continued for a number of years, extending to well over a dozen successful concerts. Among them were the „Millennium Concert“ in Tokyo in 2000, as well as performances in Munich, Barcelona, San Francisco, San Jose, Acapulco, Benidorm, Taipei, and Shanghai, Turku (Finland), Vienna,.. and the final concert in Plácido Domingo’s World Opera contest Operalia in Hamburg. (The Plácido Domingo Live in Seoul concert was recorded, and is available on the Samsung Records label.) Maestro Sollak also conducted a „Three Sopranos“ concert in Chicago.
In addition to his concert engagements, Maestro Sollak has extensive operatic conducting experience, and has been invited to Opera companies in cities including his native Vienna, Prague, Tenerife, Dublin, Stuttgart, New York, Helsinki, and Washington.
He has conducted performances of Ariadne auf Naxos, La Bohème, Carmen, Les Contes d’ Hoffmann, La Damnation de Faust, Fidelio, Der fliegende Holländer, l’ Italiana in Algeri, Parsifal, Rigoletto, Tosca, La Traviata, and Il Trovatore. At the Vienna „Volksoper“ he has led performances of Don Giovanni and La Traviata, and his Viennese concert conducting has included – since 1995 – regular performances in that city’s prestigious „Musikverein“.
Other operatic projects have included the first Austrian performances of Udo Zimmermann’s opera, White Rose; a new production of Verdi’s La Traviata at the Washington Opera; a performance of Aida commemorating the anniversary of Verdi’s death; I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Opera Tenerife; eight Tosca performances at the Finnish National Opera, Helsinki; and La Traviata in Krakow. He was also a guest conductor at the „Prague Autumn Festival“ and at the Mozart Festival in Woodstock, Illinosi and the Festival in Soria (Spain).
Other significant performances include the highly acclaimed „return“ concert of the renowned tenor Franco Bonisolli in Vienna (Mr. Bonisolli and Maestro Sollak have recorded together), and a Gala concert in New York´s City Opera honoring Rudolph Giuliani, with Mirella Freni and Plácido Domingo. There were also two so-called „Super Concerts“ in Taipei and Shanghai, again with Placido Domingo.
In Prague, in the theatre where Mozart’s Don Giovanni was first performed, Karl Sollak conducted a new Production of that opera, as well as a production of Verdi’s „Un Ballo in Maschera“ in Riga, Latvia. Recently he opened the „Al Bustan Festival“ in Beirut with two concerts and conducted concerts in Abu Dhabi, Madrid..
He conducted concerts in Beirut, Manama (Bahrain) and at the Opera House in Muscat (Oman) with works by Hiba al Kawas together with Guitarist Jose Maria Gallardo del Rey.
A Gala concert at the festival in Palma de Mallorca included soloists Johan Botha, Aga Mikolaj, Bernd Weikl and Kurt Rydl.
Together with Aga Mikolaj he recorded Arias by Mozart and by R. Strauss: „4 last songs“ and the Final Scene from „Capriccio“. The CD with the title „Aga Mikolaj sings Strauss & Mozart„is available at www.amazon.com.