Mariss Ivars Georgs Jansons (born 14 January 1943) is a Latvian conductor, the son of conductor Arvīds Jansons.
In 1973, Jansons was appointed Associate Conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (now Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra). In 1979, he was appointed music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, with which he performed, recorded and toured extensively. Jansons resigned his Oslo position in 2000 after disputes with the city over the acoustics of the Oslo Concert Hall.
In 1992, Jansons was named principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has worked as a guest conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra and has recorded Mahler's Symphony No. 6 with them for the LSO Live label.
In 1997, Jansons became the music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. His initial contract was for three years, but his subsequent contract renewals were evergreen contracts that required yearly renewal. In June 2002, he announced his departure from the orchestra in 2004.
In April 1996 in Oslo, Jansons nearly died while conducting the final pages of La bohème, after a heart attack. He recuperated in Switzerland. Later, surgeons in Pittsburgh fitted a defibrillator in his chest to give his heart an electric jolt if it fails. (Jansons's father died at a 1984 concert, conducting the Hallé Orchestra). Jansons has stated that he suffers from jet lag, and this was one reason that he left his American position.
At the start of the 2003/2004 season, Jansons began his tenure as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO), for an initial contract of 3 years His commitment with the BRSO is for 10 weeks per season. In September 2006, Jansons extended his initial BRSO contract to August 2009. In July 2007, he further extended his contract with the BRSO to August 2012. In April 2011, he extended his BRSO contract to August 2015 in Munich. He has regularly campaigned for the construction of a new concert hall for the orchestra.
In October 2002, Jansons was named the sixth chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (KCO, Dutch abbreviation) of Amsterdam, effective 1 September 2004, succeeding Riccardo Chailly. His initial Amsterdam contract was for 3 years, and his commitment in Amsterdam is for 12 weeks per season. As of October 2012, whilst no published reports of the continued length of Jansons' tenure with the KCO have been given, Jansons continues to serve as the orchestra's Chief Conductor.
In 2006, Jansons conducted the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert for the first time. Also in January 2006, he was awarded MIDEM's Artist of the Year Award in Cannes. In October 2007, Jansons (who himself is Lutheran) conducted Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for Pope Benedict XVI and 7000 other listeners in the papal audience hall (Auditorio Paul VI). Jansons conducted the Vienna New Year's Concert for the second time in 2012. The concert was televised worldwide in seventy-three countries.
Jansons has been awarded various Austrian and international honours for his achievements, including Commander of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit from King Harald of Norway and memberships of the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Society of Music Friends in Vienna (Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde). In May 2006, he was awarded the Order of the Three Stars (2nd class or Grand Commander), Latvia’s highest state honour. He was awarded the Bavarian Order of Merit in 2007 and in 2010, the Bavarian Maximilian Order for Science and Art. In 2008, Jansons received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art.
Jansons' recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13 with Sergey Aleksashkin (bass) and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus won the Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance at the 48th Grammy Awards.
In January 2006 he was awarded a Midem, a Cannes Classical Award as Artist of the Year. In 2007 he was honoured by the German Phono Academy with the Echo Klassik 2007th.
Jansons was named 'Conductor of the Year' in 2011 by the German journal Opernwelt.
Jansons won Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2013.