Born in Romania, Maestro Marin studied composition, piano and conducting at the George Enescu Music Academy and at Salzburg's Mozarteum. His education also includes studies in philosophy and the history of religion. His first conducting position was Music Director of the Transylvania Philharmonic at age 21.
Defecting from Romania’s dictatorship in 1986 led to a new life and musical career in Vienna as well as his receiving Austrian citizenship. Starting under Maestro Claudio Abbado's tenure (1987-1991), he became Resident Conductor of the Vienna State Opera. During that time, Ion Marin conducted a wide opera repertoire collaborating with famous singers including Luciano Pavarotti, Agnes Baltsa, Jose Carreras, Gundula Janowitz, Herman Prey, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Edita Gruberova, Giuseppe Taddei and Mirella Freni. He also benefited from the guidance of Herbert von Karajan and Carlos Kleiber.
His symphonic reputation led to his conducting virtually all of the greatest European orchestras including the Berliner Philharmoniker, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Symphony, Staatskapelle Desden, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Philharmonia London, Orchestra della Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic as well as many others throughout the world. He appears regularly in Japan, where he conducts the NHK Symphony and the Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra.
His ample range of symphonic and vocal-symphonic repertoire makes Maestro Marin's programmes recognized as extremely creative, engaging and innovative.
Martha Argerich, Yo-Yo Ma, Franck Peter Zimmerman, Maxim Vengerov, Gidon Kremer, Jean Yves Thibaudet, Helene Grimaud are among the soloists with whom he has appeared. He also had the privilege to work with music luminaries like Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich and Alexis Weissenberg.
Maestro Marin’s opera conducting has included new productions at the Metropolitan Opera, Teatro alla Scala, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Munich State Opera, Opera Bastille, Royal Danish Opera, San Francisco Opera, Teatro Real Madrid, Hamburg State Opera, Teatro La Fenice, Zurich Opera and Rossini Opera Festival. Together with the celebrated Giorgio Strehler he inaugurated the Nuovo Piccolo Teatro in Milan with a legendary production of Cosi fan tutte (1998).
He has collaborated with most of the world's greatest singers, including Placido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu, Renee Fleming, Waltraud Meier, Jessye Norman, Cecilia Bartoli, Jonas Kaufmann, Thomas Hampson, Ruggero Raimondi, Roberto Alagna and Dimitri Hvorostovsky.
Maestro Marin's discography is comprised of over 40 titles released by prestigious houses like Deutsche Grammophone, Decca, EMI, Sony and Philips. His outstanding recordings earned him three Grammy nominations (USA), the Diapason d'Or (France) and the German Recording Critic's Prize (Germany). In 2012 he received the prestigious Echo Klassik Award in the Bestseller Category. His recent releases are the Berlin Philharmonic Waldbühne Concert featuring Renee Fleming (Euroarts, 2011), the Legacy album with David Garrett and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Decca, 2012) and Bruch Violin Concertos with Guy Braunstein and the Bamberger Symphoniker (Tudor, 2012).
Recent appearances focused on Mahler include concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra, Sankt Petersburg Philharmonic, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Hamburg Symphoniker and a Gala with Elina Garanca at the Ohrid Festival.
Highlights of upcoming performances include returns to the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Hamburg Symphoniker, the Kodaly Memorial with the Budapest Philharmonic, Philharmonique d'Ile de France and the Teatro alla Scala.
In 2012, Maestro Marin initiated the Cantus Mundi and the Symphonia Mundi projects in Romania dedicated to musical education and social integration through music for the country's disadvantaged children.
He lives with his wife and son in Lugano, Switzerland.