Rhinegold Photo credit: Peter Meisel

Melissa Bradshaw

Mariss Jansons dies aged 76

10:36, 2nd December 2019

The internationally renowned Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons died in St Petersburg aged 76 on 30 November 2019.

Jansons had been chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2003, as well as having held the post of chief conductor of Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from 2004 – 2015. He was a regular guest with some of the world’s most distinguished ensembles including the London Symphony and Berlin Philharmonic.

Born in Riga on 14 January 1943, Jansons’ parents were renowned conductor Arvid Jansons and singer Erhaida Jansons. He studied conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory, and during this time began working as assistant conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic (now the St Petersburg Philarmonic). He also studied conducting in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky and in Salzburg with Herbert von Karajan.

In 1979 he was appointed to the position of music director of the Oslo Philharmonic, and in the early ‘90s he began to guest conduct several other orchestras such as the London and Vienna Philharmonics. He made his debut at Salzburg Festival with the Oslo Philharmonic in 1990, and has since given 44 performances at the Festival with seven orchestras. In 1997 he became music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, a post he held until 2004 when he began working with the Concertgebouw.

Having recorded extensively for Chandos and EMI, his Oslo Philharmonic Tchaikovsky cycle received enormous praise and helped to establish Chandos’ reputation as a leading figure within the classical recording sector. In 2004 he won a Gramophone award for the Grieg and Schumann piano concertos with Leif Ove Andsnes and the Berlin Philharmonic.

‘In Mariss Jansons, we have lost one of the pre-eminent conductors of our time and a true friend,’ said Salzburg Festival artistic director Markus Hinterhäuser. ‘His earnestness, his profound sensitivity, his ethical standards and artistic class gave his music a sincerity which is as rare as it is precious.’

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