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Musical World

Mariss Jansons

  • Conductor


Mariss Jansons: Considered one of the leading conductors to emerge from the former Soviet Union, Mr. Jansons was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1943, son of the renowned conductor Arvid Jansons. He studied violin, piano and conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory, where he graduated with honors. In 1969 he continued his training in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky and Karl Österreicher and in Salzburg with Herbert von Karajan. Two years later, he was a prizewinner at the International Herbert von Karajan Foundation Competition in Berlin.

Mariss Jansons' relationship with the Pittsburgh Symphony has been widely hailed both nationally and internationally as one of the most successful partnerships in the orchestral world today. During his tenure as music director, led the Pittsburgh Symphony at Carnegie Hall each season and on tours of Japan (1998), South America (2001), the Far East (2002) and Europe (1999, 2000, and 2003), all to exceptional acclaim. Similarly, Mr. Jansons has brought the Oslo Philharmonic on tours to all of the major European, American and Japanese music centers.

Mariss Jansons's association with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Leningrad Philharmonic) dates back to 1973, when Evgeny Mravinsky, then its Music Director, invited Mr. Jansons to assist him as Associate Conductor. During his tenure as Associate Principal Conductor, he conducted the Orchestra on many of its successful tours to Europe, America and Japan.

In North America, Mariss Jansons has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Montreal, and Toronto. His summer engagements have included concerts at the Mann Music Center, and at the Blossom, Ravinia, and Tanglewood festivals. Abroad, he frequently conducts the leading orchestras of Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony, and Zürich Tonhälle orchestras. Since 1995, Mr. Jansons has appeared annually at the Salzburg Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Mariss Jansons' recordings on the EMI and Chandos labels comprise works by a wide range of composers, including Bartók, Berlioz, Brahms, Dvorak, Honegger, Mahler, Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Respighi, Saint-Saëns, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Stravinsky, Svendsen, Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Weill. In addition to his 30 recordings with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, he has made recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the London Philharmonic and The Philadelphia Orchestra.    Several of Mariss Jansons' recordings have received international awards, including a 1989 Edison Award for Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7 with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra; a coveted Dutch Luister Award for Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; a Penguin Award for Dvorak's Symphony No. 5 and a 1998 Grand Prix de Disque for Honegger's Symphonies Nos. 2 and 3, both with the Oslo Philharmonic.

During 1995 King Harald V of Norway appointed Mariss Jansons Commander with Star of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit for his work and achievements with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the highest such award available to foreigners. In July 1999 he was appointed Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and in June 2001 he was named an Honorary Member of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, the highest Viennese musical honor. Mr. Jansons has also been awarded the prestigious Norwegian Culture Prize of Anders Jahre and the Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International.