In 1968 he was appointed Professor for choral conducting at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart, in 1973 he was elected Rektor (president), serving until 1982. He also directed the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele (de) until 2004.
He was Generalintendant (General Manager) of the Staatstheater Stuttgart from 1985 to 1992.
For EMI, Gönnenwein recorded many of Bach's sacred works, including the St Matthew Passion, as well as Haydn's oratorios and Mozart's Requiem.
Gönnenwein died on 26 July 2015 at the age of 82
VIDEO: "Final Chorus" from Matthäus-Passion
by Johann Sebastian Bach