Oliver Matz was born and raised in Rostock. He received his ballet training at the Berlin State Ballet
School (under Prof. Martin Puttke) and joined the German State Opera in 1980, serving the company
as a leading soloist and international ambassador for 25 years.
Awards and Honours
Oliver Matz’s many awards and honours include the Youth Art Award of the German Democratic
Republic. In 1983, he won the bronze medal at the Varna International Ballet Competition and first
prize at the National Ballet Competition of the German Democratic Republic. A year later, he won a
gold medal at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition and in 1986 a gold medal at the
International Ballet Competition in Jackson (USA).
In 1999, his interpretation of Siegfried in Swan Lake was nominated for the Prix Benois de la Dance.
He has received numerous critics’ choice awards for his interpretations of the leading parts in
Wassiljew’s “Macbeth,” Cranko’s “Onegin” and “The Taming of the Shrew,” as well as for one of his
most acclaimed classical roles, Basilio in “Don Quixote.”
In recognition of his outstanding artistic achievements, he was appointed Berliner Kammertänzer by
the Berlin Senator of Culture in 1995, the first dancer ever to receive this highest honour.
For his lifetime achievement, he was appointed Honorary Member of the German State Opera in 2004.
His repertoire included the leading parts in the great classical narrative ballets, such as Sleeping
Beauty, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Giselle, La Bayadère, La Sylphide, Raymonda, Don Quixote,
Spartacus, and Macbeth.
He performed solo roles in works from the Balanchine repertoire, including The Prodigal Son, Apollon
Musagète, Symphony in C, Theme and Variations, as well as The Four Temperaments.
He earned great acclaim for his interpretations of the leading parts in John Cranko’s Onegin and The
Taming of the Shrew. Internationally celebrated figures and choreographers like Ray Barra, Patrice
Bart, Michael Baryshnikov, Maurice Béjart, Peter Breuer, William Forsythe, Pierre Lacotte, Hans van
Manen, Rudolf Nurejew, Roland Petit, Uwe Scholz, Yuri Vamos, and Wladimir Wassiljev created roles
for him or reinterpretations of classical narrative ballets.
Television and DVD Productions
In 1997, he performed the role of Basilio in the live television broadcast of the Finnish National Ballet’s
performance of Don Quixote, one of the great classics. In 1999, he appeared together with prima
ballerina Steffi Scherzer in the French television production of the Grand Pas de Deux Don Quixote.
He featured as Prince Siegfried in the German State Opera Ballet’s Swan Lake (1998) and as
Drosselmeyer in its production of The Nutcracker. Choreographed by Patrice Bart and conducted by
Daniel Barenboim, both productions were broadcast live on television and in cinemas and are
available on DVD.
Many guest appearances and gala events took him to all parts of the world, including performances
with internationally renowned ballet companies like the American Ballet Theater in New York, the
Bayerischen Staatsballett, the Teatro alla Scala in Milano, the Finnish National Ballet, the National
Ballet of Canada, the Royal Ballet London, the Stuttgarter Ballett, and the World Ballet Festival in
Tokyo. He has danced with famous international ballerinas like Eva Evdokimova, Isabelle Guérin,
Sylvie Guillem, Evelyn Hart, Margaret Illmann, Alessandra Ferri, Ludmilla Semenjaka, and Steffi
Bidding Farewell to the Stage and Moving to New Pastures
In 2004, Oliver Matz ended his artistic career and together with his partner Steffi Scherzer accepted an
invitation from Zurich’s University of Music and Drama (HGKZ) to establish professional stage dance
education in Switzerland. Under their direction, Zurich Dance Academy (taZ), part of Zurich University
of the Arts (ZHdK), has become one of the most reputable dance education and training organisations
in the world.
Besides his duties and responsibilites as general director, he enjoys much success as a taZ faculty
member, teaching male ballet classes. The best students are engaged at world-renowned companies
and have won major international competitions.
His professional expertise is internationally in great demand. He gives world wide master classes and
has served as a jury member at acclaimed ballets competitions, including the Prix de Lausanne, Youth
America Grand Prix, Japan Grand Prix, South African International Ballet Competition, Tanzolymp