Mikhail Agrest was born in St. Petersburg and then moved with his family to the USA in 1989 where he studied with Josef Gingold at the Indiana University School of Music. He later returned to St Petersburg for post-graduate studies in conducting with Ilya Musin and Mariss Jansons.
Mikhail Agrest joined the Mariinsky Theatre in 2001 and, together with the Mariinsky, has performed in many European capitals, the Far East and Japan, the UK and the USA. In July 2003, again on tour with the orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, Mikhail Agrest made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Rimsky-Korsakov´s The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and Maiden Fevronia, and his Covent Garden debut with Le Sacre du Printemps and Les Noces. The Observer reviewed one of the performances and wrote, "The effect was breathtaking. Conducted by a Gergiev protégé, Mikhail Agrest, the orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre caressed and pounded its way through Stravinsky's revolutionary score with vigour and conviction…"
Agrest has also established a thriving career as a guest conductor both in symphonic repertoire and the opera house. He conducted the award-winning production by David Alden of Jenufa at the English National Opera and has also conducted the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in productions of Le Sacre du Printemps and Romeo and Juliet.
In addition, Mikhail Agrest has appeared with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Northern Sinfonia, Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra, the orchestras of the Komische Oper, Berlin and the Royal Swedish Opera, the Opera de Lyon and the Teatro di San Carlo, Napoli. He made his operatic debut in Tosca with the Royal Swedish Opera in May 2008, Don Giovanni with Opera Australia in July 2008, and Rake’s Progress with Opera de Oviedo in November ‘08.
In recent seasons, Agrest worked with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Flanders Philharmonic, Gothenburg Opera, Euskadi Orchestra and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. He also returned to conduct the BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC PO, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a symphonic concert with Scottish Opera. In the summer of 2009, Mikhail Agrest made his debut with Glimmerglass Opera in Sir Jonathan Miller’s new production of La Traviata.
The current season includes appearances with the Toscanini Orchestra, the Brabants Orchestra, Sofia Gubaidulina Festival, BBC Symphony Orchestra, National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia, State Symphony Orchestra of Russia, Academic Symphony orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Sudwestdeutsche Philharmonie and the St. Gallen Orchestra.
"...Mikhail Agrest’s sensitive conducting drew the appropriate colors from the orchestra, creating an impressionistic orchestral palette, perfectly matching the atmosphere on stage...."