The 42-year-old Palumbo will take up his new position at the beginning of the 2006-07 season. He succeeds Christian Thielemann, who resigned in May 2004 in protest of cuts in funding for opera in Berlin.
The Italian-born Palumbo launched his career abroad, guest-conducting in Germany, Japan, Norway, and Spain in the 1980s. He was music director of Istanbul Opera and Ballet from 1989 to 1994 and principal conductor of Cape Town Opera Theatre from 1993 to 1998. Since 1998, he has debuted at the Arena di Verona, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, La Fenice, La Scala, and Vienna State Opera. He will debut at Paris Opera and Barcelona's Gran Teatro del Liceu this season.
He leads Puccini's Le villi at Deutsche Oper Berlin starting October 12.