Wolff's conducting career began in 1979, when he was appointed Exxon/Arts Endowment Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra
; he served as associate conductor of that ensemble, then led by Mstislav Rostropovich
, from 1982 to 1985. During that period he also served as music director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic (1981-1986), his first such appointment. In 1985 became music director of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, a post he retained until 1992. From the 1980s to the present he has also appeared frequently as a guest conductor throughout the United States and Europe, including appearances with the Czech Philharmonic, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic
, the English Chamber Orchestra
, and the Israel Philharmonic
Wolff came into new prominence through his association with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, which he led as principal conductor (1988-1991) and music director (1991-2000). During his tenure there, he recorded over 20 compact discs -- more than those of any other conductor of the SPCO -- of repertoire ranging from Vivaldi
to new works by young composers like Edgar Meyer
. He also led the ensemble on a well-received European tour.
Between 1997 and 2006 Wolff served as chief conductor of the Radio Orchestra of Frankfurt. In 2001, his recordings of Antheil's Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6 and of Barber's and Meyer's violin concertos, with Hilary Hahn, won Cannes Classical awards.