Born in Milwaukee/Wisconsin in 1939, John Neumeier studied in his native city as well as in Chicago, Copenhagen and London. In 1963 John Cranko invited him to join Stuttgart Ballet. After four years as Director of Ballet Frankfurt, he was appointed Director and Chief Choreographer of the Hamburg Ballet in 1973. Under his direction, the Hamburg Ballet became one of the leading ballet companies on the German dance scene.
As a choreographer, Mr. Neumeier has continually focused on the preservation of ballet tradition, while giving his works a modern dramatic framework. His ballets range from new versions of full-length story ballets to musicals and symphonic ballets as well as choreographies to sacred music. His latest creations for the Hamburg Ballet: “The Glass Menagerie” (2019), “Beethoven-Project” (2018) and “Anna Karenina” (2017). In addition to his great commitment to the Hamburg Ballet, he regularly works as guest choreographer with the most renowned international ballet companies.
In 1975, John Neumeier conceived the Hamburg Ballet Festival as a climax and end to each season. Three years later, he founded The School of the Hamburg Ballet. Today more than 80 % of the company’s dancers are graduates from the school. In 2011, Neumeier founded Germany’s National Youth Ballet, a creative and young company that finds its performing spaces in schools, retirement homes and prisons.
John Neumeier has received some of the most prestigious international awards. He holds the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany as well as the French Order of Arts and Letters and the Legion of Honour. In 2015, the Inamori Foundation presented John Neumeier with the Kyoto Prize for his contributions to the Arts and Philosophy. His most recent awards include the Lifetime Achievement Awards of the Prix Benois de la Danse and the Prix de Lausanne as well as the Chinese Friendship Award.
In 2006 Mr. Neumeier established the John Neumeier Foundation with the aim of preserving and eventually making available to the public his collection of dance and ballet-related objects.