Valery Gergiev is a vivid representative of the St Petersburg conducting school and a former pupil of the legendary Professor Ilya Musin. While still a student at the Leningrad Conservatoire, Gergiev won the Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin and the All-Union Conducting Competition in Moscow, following which he was invited to join the Kirov Theatre (now the Mariinsky) as an assistant to the principal conductor. His debut as a conductor at the theatre came on 12 January 1978 with Sergei Prokofiev’s opera 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 (leading the orchestra and opera and ballet companies).
Through maestro Gergiev’s efforts the Mariinsky Theatre has revived operas by Richard Wagner. In 1997 came Parsifal, which had not been performed in Russia for more than eighty years, in 1999 Lohengrin was revived and by 2003 the grandiose operatic tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen had been staged in full. The tetralogy has been performed on Mariinsky Theatre tours to great acclaim in the USA, South Korea, Japan, Great Britain and Spain.
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 the direction of Valery Gergiev the Mariinsky Theatre has become a major theatre and concert complex. 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. Other projects of Valery Gergiev hosted by the Mariinsky Theatre include media broadcasting, on-line broadcasts of concerts and the establishment of a recording studio. 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 1992 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.
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.
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 of Alexander Nevsky (2016) and prestigious State awards of Armenia, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, France and Japan.
For more information please visit the Mariinsky Theatre’s website.