Henrik Schaefer (born 1968 in Bochum) is a German conductor.
At the age of six he began playing the violin and changed to viola when he was 14. After his studies in Essen and Freiburg with Prof. Grahe, Prof. Koch, Prof. Kashkashian and Prof. Luethy, he became the then youngest member of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 22.
As well as playing in the orchestra he studied conducting in Leipzig with Prof. Rohde from 1994 to 1998. After his first smaller projects as a conductor he led the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the first time in 1999 for the MusikBox project of Sony music (Ludwig van Beethoven's symphony no. 5, Robert Schumann's symphony no. 3 and Felix Mendelssohn's symphony no. 4). In May 2000 he was chosen from numerous applicants to become Claudio Abbado’s assistant with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and already in December 2000 he led all rehearsals for the production of Richard Wagner's Tristan in Tokyo, due to Abbado’s ailing health.
Since then he has conducted the orchestra on many occasions in Berlin and Salzburg (Falstaff, Parsifal) and took the dress rehearsal for Claudio Abbado’s last concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with Gustav Mahler's symphony no. 7 in Vienna in May 2002.
Henrik Schaefer has appeared as guest conductor with the Israel Sinfonietta, the Scharoun Ensemble, the Suedwestdeutsche Philharmonie and the Hiroshima Symphony Orchestra. In February 2003 he conducted a new production of Stravinsky’s “Le Sacre du Printemps” with the Gewandhaus Orchestra and the Leipzig Ballett. Last season he premiered a new production of “Le nozze di Figaro” with the Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Oper Leipzig.
As a guest conductor he works regularly with the Tokyo Symphony, the Holland Symfonia, the Prague Symphony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra, the Dutch Radio Orchestra, the Asko Ensemble, the Brandenburgische Staatsorchester Frankfurt, the Nuernberger Symphoniker and the BBC Scottish.