Sylvain Cambreling (born 2 July 1948 in Amiens, France) is a French conductor. Trained as a trombone player, he studied at the Paris Conservatoire. He joined l'Orchestre Symphonique de Lyon (OSL) as a trombonist in 1971. In 1974, he took second prize in the International Besançon Competition for Young Conductors. His conducting debut was with the OSL in 1975, leading Robert Schumann's Scenes from Goethe's Faust. At the invitation of Pierre Boulez, he began to guest-conduct the Ensemble Intercontemporain regularly from 1976.
Cambreling was the music director of the Théâtre de la Monnaie, Brussels from 1981-1991, during Gerard Mortier's tenure. He served as artistic director and general music director of the Frankfurt Opera from 1993-1997. During his Frankfurt tenure, he encountered controversy over proposed budget cuts from the city of Frankfurt and the director for opera and ballet, Martin Steinhoff. From 1997-2004, he served as principal guest conductor of Klangforum Wien, with whom he premiered Luciano Berio's final opera, Cronaca del luogo. He also made several commercial recordings with Klangforum Wien. He was a frequent conductor at the Opéra National de Paris during Mortier's tenure there, from 2004-2009, holding the title of "principal conductor" for the first season of that duration, a title shared with six other conductors.
From 1999 to 2011, Cambreling was chief conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, and made several commercial recordings with the orchestra. He became principal conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in April 2010, with an initial contract of 3 years. In parallel in April 2010, he was named Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of the Stuttgart State Opera, effective with the 2012-2013 season. He is scheduled to conclude his Stuttgart tenure at the close of the 2017-2018 season.