Born on 2nd May 1953 in Moscow.
Graduated in symphony conducting from the Leningrad Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire (class of Professor Musin). At age 23, he won the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin and, while still a student at the Conservatoire, was invited to join the Kirov Theatre.
Conducted at the Kirov Theatre from 1977. From 1981-85, he was also Principal Guest Conductor with the State Symphony Orchestra of Armenia.
At the age of 35, Valery Gergiev was appointed Artistic Director of the Opera Company and, from 1996, has been Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Throughout his years of dedication to the theatre, the Maestroґs main aim has always been to make the Mariinsky Opera Company the best in the world. Over the last fifteen years, the repertoire has undergone unprecedented development. The Mariinsky Theatre has staged operas including Mozartґs Don Giovanni, Musorgskyґs The Sorochinsky Fair, Boris Godunov and Khovanshchina, Verdiґs Otello, Aida, La forza del destino, Don Carlos, Macbeth, Un ballo in maschera and La traviata, Prokofievґs Fiery Angel, The Gambler, War and Peace, Betrothal in a Monastery and Semyon Kotko, Rimsky-Korsakovґs The Maid of Pskov, Sadko, Kashchei the Immortal and The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maid Fevronia, Shostakovichґs Katerina Ismailova, Straussґ Salome and Tchaikovskyґs Mazepa, The Queen of Spades and Eugene Onegin. The return of Wagnerґs operas Lohengrin, Parsifal and Der Fliegende Hollдnder to the St Petersburg stage are among some of the highlights, to say nothing of the production of the entire Ring des Nibelungen tetralogy of Das Rheingold, Die Walkьre, Siegfried and Gцtterdдmmerung in the original German, a unique and unprecedented event in Russia.
Valery Gergiev is the founder and artistic director of many international music festivals including For Peace in the Caucasus (Vladikavkaz), the Mikkeli Festival (Finland), the Red Sea Festival (Eilat), the Kirov Philharmonic (London), the Rotterdam Philharmonic-Gergiev Festival (the Netherlands) and the Moscow Easter Festival. He organised and ran a Musorgsky Festival (1988), Prokofiev Festivals (1991 and 1992), presenting a wide spectrum of the composerґs works including four opera premieres (War and Peace, Love for Three Oranges, The Gambler and Fiery Angel), several symphonies and cantata-oratory works, and a Rimsky-Korsakov in the 20th Century festival (1994), which greatly influenced world musical culture. Lastly, of course, Valery Gergiev is also the inspiration and energy behind St Petersburgґs annual Stars of the White Nights festival, which he established in 1993.
It was Valery Gergiev who first envisaged artistic co-operation between the Mariinsky Theatre and the worldґs leading opera houses, among them the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Teatro Carlo Felice, the San Francisco Opera, La Scala, the New Israeli Opera and the Thйвtre du Chвtelet.
Valery Gergiev is one of the finest conductors of our time. He works with such renowned ensembles as the Berliner Philharmoniker, the London Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (the UK), LґOrchestre National de France, Swedish Radio Orchestra and the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston, Minnesota, Montreal and Birmingham. He has been Principal Guest Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic since 1995 and of the Metropolitan Opera from 1997 to 2002.
Under Valery Gergievґs management, the Mariinsky Theatre has toured extensively, performing to great acclaim in countries all over Europe, in North and South America, China, Japan and Australia.
Special mention must be made of the now long established partnership between Maestro Gergiev and Philips, which has resulted in the production of over thirty compact disc recordings. Together with the Mariinsky Theatre and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras, he has conducted recordings of operas, ballets and concert programmes from his vast repertoire which includes works by Russian and non-Russian composers alike, among them Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Musorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Bizet, Berlioz, Verdi, Brahms and Bruckner.
Valery Gergiev holds the title of Peopleґs Artist of Russia (1996). In the same year, the jury of the International Classical Music Awards conferred upon him the title of Conductor of the Year. He was awarded the State Prize of Russia in 1994 and 1999. In 1998, Philips Electronics awarded Maestro Gergiev a special prize for his outstanding contribution to music, which he donated to the development of the Mariinsky Academy of Young Singers. In 2000, he was awarded Russiaґs prestigious Order of Friendship and Armeniaґs Order of St Mesrop Mashtots. Valery Gergiev has also been decorated with Germanyґs Bundesverdienstkreuz (first class), Italyґs Grand Ufficiale al Merito and Franceґs LґOrdre des Arts et des Lettres. In 2002, he received the Russian Presidential Prize for his outstanding contribution to arts and sciences. In March 2003, he was made an Artist of the World by UNESCO. In April 2003, he was decorated with the order For Services to the Fatherland, third class, for his contributions to music. In June 2003, the Patriarch of All Russia Alexei II awarded Valery Gergiev the Order of St Prince Daniil of Moscow of the Russian Orthodox Church, third class, for participating in charitable and cultural programmes of the Russian Orthodox Church. In November 2003, Valery Gergiev was presented with the National Pride of Russia award in the category "For an outstanding contribution to cultural development" and Russiaґs highest public award For Work and the Fatherland.
In January 2004 he was awarded the Crystal Prize for his dedication to the arts and his contribution to cultural dialogue; the prize was presented by the World Economic Forum in Davos. In April, Valery Gergiev was made a Peopleґs Artist of Ukraine, the countryґs highest State award, in recognition of his "important contribution to the development of cultural relations between Ukraine and Russia and his many years of fruitful activity".
XV International Stars of the White Nights Festival of Arts
A Tribute to Shostakovich
Valery Gergiev Receives the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize
Honouring 100 Years since the Birth of Dmitry Shostakovich. The SHOSTAKOVICH ON STAGE Festival
"Beslan – A Concert for the Future" (06.12.2004)
Music for Life (22.11.2004)
The concert Music for the Future (11.11.2004)
Music for the Future - the Mariinsky Theatre‘s Charity Concerts in Aid of the Victims of Beslan (07.11.2004)
© State Academic Mariinkiy Opera and Ballet theatre
Artistic & General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre
Valery Gergiev graduated from the Leningrad State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire in symphony conducting under Professor Ilya Musin. At the age of twenty-three he won the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin and, while still a student at the Conservatoire, was invited to join the Kirov Theatre (now the Mariinsky). At the age of thirty-five, Valery Gergiev was appointed Artistic Director of the Opera Company, and since 1996 he has been Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre.
At the Mariinsky Theatre Gergiev has overseen the emergence of a plethora of world-acclaimed singers. Under his direction, the theatre’s opera and ballet repertoire has expanded significantly. Today it encompasses a broad range of works from 18th to 20th century classical masterpieces to works by contemporary composers.
Highlights include performances of every opera by Prokofiev and Shostakovich at the Mariinsky Theatre, as well as the return of Wagner’s operas Lohengrin, Parsifal, Der Fliegende Holländer and Tristan und Isolde to the St Petersburg stage. For the first time in the history of Russian theatre, Gergiev staged a production of Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen in the original German (2003), the Western European premiere of which in Baden-Baden (2004) was feted by the German media as a truly historic event in world music. in June 2005 Der Ring des Nibelungen was performed to great acclaim in Moscow, and later in South Korea and Japan. In the 2006–2007 season, Wagner’s tetralogy was performed in the USA, Great Britain and Spain. In 2009 Gergiev oversaw an international production of Berlioz’ operatic duologue Les Troyens, which resulted in a series of concert performances of this work by the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Chorus and soloists in Russia, Israel and the USA.
Gergiev has established and directs such international festivals as the Gergiev Festival (the Netherlands), the Moscow Easter Festival and the Stars of the White Nights festival (St Petersburg), which Austria’s respected Festspiele Magazin listed as one of the world’s ten greatest festivals.
Thanks to the Valery Gergiev’s efforts, the Concert Hall was built in 2006, which has significantly broadened the repertoire possibilities of the company and the orchestra. This stunning theatre and concert complex is remarkable for its outstanding acoustics. The Concert Hall of the Mariinsky Theatre hosts performances of operas and philharmonic programmes, and it also produces recordings of works for the Mariinsky label. Established on the initiative of Valery Gergiev in 2009, the Mariinsky label has released eighteen discs to date. In 2010 its recording of the opera The Nose – the label’s first project – received a MIDEM Classical Award.
The maestro devotes much attention to programmes for children and young people and he has revived the practice of offering subscriptions for this audience group as well as gratis concerts for students.
Valery Gergiev is also well-known for his active stance with regards to the protection of humanistic ideals. the maestro initiated the worldwide series of charitable concerts Beslan: Music for Life held in New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, Rome and Moscow. In August 2008 the maestro conducted a requiem concert in front of the ruined Government House of South Ossetia in Tskhinval).
Since 2007 Valery Gergiev has been Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and he also collaborates with the Wiener Philharmoniker, the orchestra of La Scala and the New York and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras. He is a member of the Council for Culture and Art of the President of the Russian Federation and heads the Organisational Committee of the XIV International Tchaikovsky Competition.
In February 2010 the Academic Council of the St Petersburg State University elected Valery Gergiev Dean of the Faculty of Arts.
For his services to music and to society, Valery Gergiev has been the recipient of numerous awards and prizes. These include the title of People’s Artist of Russia (1996), the State Prize of Russia (1994 and 1999), Germany’s Bundestverdienstkreuz, first class, “For Services”, Italy’s Grand’ufficiale dell’Ordine al merito, France’s L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Netherlands’ Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun, the honorary title UNESCO Artist of the World and the Polar Music Prize from the Swedish Royal Academy of Music. Of the three Russian orchestras included in the list, the Mariinsky was ranked highest. One of the maestro’s most recent awards was the prize of Great Britain’s Royal Society of Music as Conductor of the Year (2009). In 2009 Great Britain’s Royal Philharmonic Society named Valery Gergiev “Conductor of the Year”. One of the maestro’s most recent awards has been the European Glashütte Original Music Festival Prize for his support of talented young musicians. In 2011 Valery Gergiev was made Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival. In November 2011 respected French magazine Classica named him “Artist of the Year.” In April 2012 the Academic Council of the Moscow State University passed a resolution to award Valery Gergiev the title of Honorary Doctor of the Moscow State University while in November 2012 the maestro received the title of Honorary Professor of the St Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire.