Valery Gergiev

Conductor

Biography

Valery Gergiev is a vivid representative of the St Petersburg conducting school. His debut at the Mariinsky (then Kirov) Theatre came in 1978 with Prokofiev's War and Peace. In 1988 Valery Gergiev was appointed Music Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, and in 1996 he became its Artistic and General Director.

With his arrival at the helm, it became a tradition to hold major festivals marking various anniversaries of composers. Through Gergiev's efforts the Mariinsky Theatre has revived Wagner's operas. The Mariinsky Orchestra under Valery Gergiev has scaled new heights, assimilating not just opera and ballet scores, but also an expansive symphony music repertoire.

Under Gergiev's direction the Mariinsky Theatre has become a major theatre and concert complex, without par anywhere in the world. In 2006 the Concert Hall was opened, followed in 2013 by the theatre's second stage (the Mariinsky-II), while since 1 January 2016 the Mariinsky Theatre has had a branch in Vladivostok - the Primorsky Stage. 2009 saw the launch of the Mariinsky label, which to date has released more than thirty discs that have received great acclaim from the critics and the public throughout the world.

Valery Gergiev's international activities are no less intensive and active. Having made debuts in 1991 at the Bayerishe Staatsoper (Musorgsky's Boris Godunov), in 1993 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin) and in 1994 at the Metropolitan Opera (Verdi's Otello with Plácido Domingo in the title role), the maestro successfully continues to collaborate with the world's great opera houses. He works with the World Orchestra for Peace (which he has directed since 1997 following the death of the ensemble's founder Sir Georg Solti), the Philharmonic Orchestras of Berlin, Paris, Vienna, New York and Los Angeles, the Symphony Orchestras of Chicago, Cleveland, Boston and San Francisco, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Amsterdam) and many other ensembles. From 1995 to 2008 Valery Gergiev was Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic (of which he remains an honorary conductor to this day), and from 2007 to 2015 he was Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Since autumn 2015 the maestro has headed the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra and since summer 2018 the Verbier Festival Orchestra.

Valery Gergiev is the founder and director of prestigious international festivals including the Stars of the White Nights (since 1993), the Moscow Easter Festival (since 2002), the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, the Mikkeli Festival and the 360 Degrees festival in Munich. Since 2011 he has directed the organisational committee of the International Tchaikovsky Competition. Valery Gergiev focuses much of his attention on working with young musicians. One of his initiatives saw the revival of the All-Russian Choral Society; this includes the Children's Chorus of Russia, which has appeared at the Mariinsky-II, the Bolshoi Theatre and at the closing ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympics in Sochi. Since 2013 the maestro has directed the National Youth Orchestra of the USA and regularly appears with the youth orchestras of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Verbier Festival and the Pacific Ocean Music Festival in Sapporo. Since 2015 the Mariinsky Theatre has run the Mariinsky NEXT annual festival, which features children's and youth orchestras of St Petersburg.

Valery Gergiev's musical and public activities have brought him three State Prizes of the Russian Federation (1993, 1998 and 2015), the titles of People's Artist of the Russian Federation (1996) and Hero of Labour (2013), the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” III and IV classes (2003, 2008), the Order of Alexander Nevsky (2016), the Russian Federation Ministry of Defence Arts and Culture Award (2017) and prestigious State awards of Armenia, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, France and Japan.

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