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Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

Musical Director

Gennady Nikolayevich Rozhdestvensky is a Russian conductor.

Rozhdestvensky was born in Moscow. His parents were the noted conductor and pedagogue Nikolai Anosov and soprano Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya. His given name was Gennady Nikolayevich Anosov, but he adopted his mother’s maiden name in its masculine form for his professional career so as to avoid the appearance of nepotism. His younger brother, the painter P.N. Anosov, retained their father's name.

He studied conducting with his father at the Moscow Conservatory and piano with Lev Oborin. Already known for having conducted Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre at the age of 20, he quickly established his reputation. He premiered many works of Soviet composers, including Edison Denisov's Le soleil des Incas (Sun of the Incas) (1964),  as well as giving the Russian premiere of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream and the Western premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony at the 1962 Edinburgh Festival. He became general artistic director of the Bolshoi Theatre in 2000, and in 2001 conducted the world premiere of the original version of Sergei Prokofiev's opera The Gambler. Not long afterwards he resigned, citing desertion by singers, production problems and hostile coverage by the Moscow press.

Among the works dedicated to Rozhdestvensky is Sofia Gubaidulina's symphony Stimmen... Verstummen....

Rozhdestvensky is considered a versatile conductor and a highly cultured musician with a supple stick technique. In moulding his interpretations, he gives a clear idea of the structural outlines and emotional content of a piece, combined with a performing style which melds logic, intuition and spontaneity. He has been praised for his efficient rehearsals which he keeps short, and is noted for his habit of walking around the stage while conducting and not using a podium, even at concerts.

He edited the second volume of the collected works of Shostakovich published in 1984, including the Symphony No. 3 and Symphony No. 4.

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky was born in Moscow into a family of musicians. In 1954, he graduated from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory (department of opera and symphony conducting, Nikolai Anosov’s class). In 1957, he completed his postgraduate studies at the Conservatory.  

From 1951-60 and from1978-82, he was Bolshoi Theatre conductor. From 1965-70, he was Bolshoi Theatre chief conductor. In 2000/01 season, he was Bolshoi Theatre general artistic ditector.

He was music director of the following productions at the Bolshoi Theatre – the ballets: Shchedrin’s The Humpbacked Horse (1960), Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker (1966), Bizet-Shchedrin’s Carmen-Suite (1967), Khachaturyan’s Spartacus (1968), The Knight of Sad Mien to music by R. Strauss (1985), Schnittke’s Sketches (1985); and the operas: Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine (1965), Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (1965), Kholminov’s Optimistic Tragedy (1967), Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mozart and Salieri (1976), Shostakovich’s Katerina Izmailova (1980), Prokofiev’s Betrothal in a Monastery (1982), Prokofiev’s The Gambler (world premiere of the first version, 2001).

In 1961 he was appointed chief conductor of the Central Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra. From 1974-85, he was music director at the Boris Pokrovsky’s Chamber Music Theatre. From 1982-92, - chief conductor of the USSR Ministry of Culture State Symphony Orchestra.

From 1974-77 and from 1991-95, he was music director of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. From 1978-1981, - chief conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. From 1980-82, - chief conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra.

He worked with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, symphony orchestras of London, Chicago, Cleveland and others. Honorary conductor of the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra.

Performed numerous little-known works by Respighi, Handel, Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Stravinsky, Janacek, Dvorak, Mahler, Debussy, Ravel, Poulenc, Bruckner, Strauss, Berg, Schoenberg, Hindemith, Bartok, Martinu, Messiaen, Milhaud, Honegger, Orff, Britten, Zemlinsky, Roussel, Vieru and others.

He has participated in world premieres of new works by Shchedrin, Slonimsky, Eshpai, Tishchenko, Kancheli, Schnittke, Gubaidulina, Denisov.

He recorded all the symphonies of Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Sibelius, Bruckner, Mahler, Thaikovsky, Glazunov, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

Since 1974, he has been teaching at the Moscow Conservatory.

Rozhdestvensky is the recipient of the Charles Cros Academy diploma (1969), of the State prize of the USSR (1970) and of the Russian Federation (1995), of the Order of Kirill and Mefody (Bulgaria, 1972), of the Order "For Merit for the Country" of IV and III degree (2001, 2007), of the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun (2002), of the French Legion of honor (2003). Honorary Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music (1975) and of the British Academy (1984).

Since 2011 Gennadi Rozhdestvensky is chief guest conductor of the St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra.

© wikipedia


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