Valery Gergiev, well-known Russian conductor, turns 60

Today, the art of Valery Gergiev is in great demand throughout the world. An outstanding conductor, whose concert engagements far exceed the limits of his peers, a fine musician, both sensitive and scrupulous in his crafting of a vast operatic canvas or an orchestral miniature, a talented director, who in the troublesome 1990s raised the Mariinsky Theater to its present position as one of the world's supreme opera houses, and a social activist and patron of the arts, Valery Gergiev sits at the top table of great personages who serve Russian art in its most aesthetic form.

At age 23, he won the Herbert von Karajan Conductors' Competition in Berlin, and as a student of symphonic conducting at the Leningrad State Conservatory under Professor Ilya Musin was invited to join the Kirov Theater (now the Mariinsky). At 35, he was appointed artistic director of the company's opera troupe, and since 1996 maestro Gergiev has served as artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theater.

The past 15 years have seen an unprecedented expansion of the company's repertoire. Among the most notable highlights are the return to the Petersburg stage of Richard Wagner's operas "Lohengrin," "Parsifal," "The Flying Dutchman," "Tristan and Isolde," and all three parts of "The Ring of the Nibelung."

The debut recordings of the Mariinsky label, orchestrated by maestro Gergiev in the spring of 2009, were nominated in five categories at the Grammies in 2010 and three in 2011, won several prestigious prizes, including the MIDEM Classical Awards, and attracted critical acclaim from leading international publications, such as The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, BBC Music Magazine, and The Gramophone.

In addition to his role as artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater, Valery Gergiev collaborates with leading orchestras worldwide: for many years he served as principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the New York Metropolitan Opera. As of 2007, Valery Gergiev is principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. The maestro also works with the World Orchestra for Peace, the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, the Swedish Radio Orchestra, and many others.

In early 2012, it was reported that Gergiev would head the National Youth Orchestra of America, established at the initiative of New York's Carnegie Hall. The new orchestral collective, which will be made up of 120 musicians aged 16-19, will start performing in 2013.

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