Matthias Hartmann was born in 1963 in the city of Osnabryuk. He passed his post-graduate internship in direction at the Berlin “Schiller-Theater” and at the Kiel Theater. In 1990, he became Artistic Director and Producer at the State Theater of the Lower Saxony in Hannover. His direction of H.E. Lessing’s “Emilia Galotti” was presented at the Berlin Theater Meeting Festival.
In1993, together with Eberhard Witt, he moved to the Bavarian State Drama Theater in the city of Munich, where he had been working until 1999.
At the same time, he had been directing performances at the Schauspielhaus Theater in Hamburg and at the Burgtheater in Vienna (“The Robbers” by Schiller; “The Misanthrope” by Moliere; “Kazimir and Karolina” by E. von Horvath; “Love in the Madagascar” by P. Turrini). Matthias Harmann received his second invitation to the Berlin Theater Meeting Festival in connection with his performance “A Kiss of Oblivion” by Botho Strauß which he directed in 1998 at the Zurich Drama Theater. Matthias Harmann was named the best Director of the Year by the "Theater heute" (“The Theater Today”) magazine’s version.
In 2000–2005, Matthias Harmann had been the leader of the Drama Theater in Bochum where he directed “Waiting for Godot” by S. Beckett with Harold Schmidt in the role of Lucky; “1979” by Christian Kracht; and also some plays by Botho Strauß and Peter Turrini which had never been produced before.
In September 2005, he became director of the Zurich Drama Theater. Here, he had produced “The Story Started After the Love” by B. Strauss; A. Chekhov’s “Ivanov;” W. Shakespeare’s “Othello;” H. von Kleist’s “Amphitryon;” “The Black Bird” by D. Harrower; Molliere’s “”Tartuffe;” Sophocles’ “Oedipus;” “Sex” by Justine del Cortes (fiert production); “I Am the Wind” by Ion Fosse (first time in the German language); and also “Immanuel Kant” by Thomas Bernhard.
At the Opera Theater in Zurich, he had produced: “The Bartered Bride“ by Bedřich Smetana (2003, Conductor Peter Schneider); “The Valley” by Eugene d’Albert and “Carmen” by Georges Bizet (conductor Franz Welser-Möst). He also directed Richard Strauss’s “Electra” (conductor Christophe von Dohnányi) at the Opera de Paris. At the Vienna State Opera, he produced “The Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District” by D. Shostakovich, and he also produced Antonin Dvořak ‘s “Rusalka” at the Zurich Opera Theater.
Since September 2009, Matthias Harmann is director of the Burgtheater. In the 2009/2010 season, he had directed “Faust: the First and the Second Part of the Tragedy” by J.W. Goethe; “Phaedra” by Jean Racine (together with the Salzburg Theater Festival); “The Twelfth Night” by W. Shakespeare, and also the “The Blind Deed” by Botho Strauß and “War and Peace,” scenes from first volume of L.Tolstoy’s novel. He also transferred several performances from Zurich and Bochum.
In the 2010/11season, Matthias Harmann directed “The Broken Jar” by H. von Kleist at the affiliate Burgtheater ("Akademietheater"), "Troya” by Homer’s “Iliad” at the Burgtheater. He also continued his work on L.Tolstoy’ “War and Peace.”
Matthias Harmann’s performance “War and Peace” after the first volume of L.Tolstoy’s novel will be presented at the Sixth International Alexandrinsky Theater Festival (September 29 and 30, 2011).
In 2010, Matthias Harmann was awarded with a special Johann Nestroy Prize for his open rehearsals of “War and Peace”.