Mariss Jansons is arguably the best conductor of today. His repertoire consists of conducting early to contemporary music works of great composers such asMahler , Bruckner, Mussorgsky, Dvorak, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Strauss, Beethoven, Debussy and Poulenc. He is particularly celebrated for his work with theBavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Mariss Jansons is the son of the renowned conductor Arvids Jansons and singer Araida Jansons. As a child Jansons first studied violin with his father. When his father joined the Leningrad Philharmonic, Mariss Jansons enrolled at the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied piano and conducting. He continued his studies in Vienna and in Salzburg, with Hans Swarowsky and Herbert von Karajan.
In 1971 he became a laureate of the Karajan Competition in Berlin and began his close partnership with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, first as an assistant to Yevgeny Mravinsky and then as a permanent conductor. From 1979 to 2000 Jansons served as Music Director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Under his tenure, the orchestra earned international acclaim and undertook tours to leading concert halls around the world. Between 1997 and 2004 he was Principal Conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and in the 2003–2004 season he took over leadership of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he is extending his contract until 2021; he began his tenure as head of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in the 2004–2005 season, and ended it in 2015. Jansons is guest conductor of the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras (in Vienna 2016 he conducted the New Year’s concert for the third time); he has additionally conducted the leading orchestras in the U.S.A. and Europe.
His discography comprises many prizewinning recordings, including a Grammy for his account of Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony. Mariss Jansons is an honorary member of the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna and of the Royal Academy of Music in London; the Berlin Philharmonic has honoured him with the Hans-von-Bülow Medal, the City of Vienna with the Golden Medal of Honour, and the State of Austria with the Honorary Cross for Science and Arts. In 2006 Cannes MIDEM named him Artist of the Year, and he received the ECHO Klassik Award in 2007 and 2008. In June 2013, for his life’s work as a conductor, he was awarded the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, and on 4 October 2013, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class by German Federal President Joachim Gauck in Berlin. In France in 2015, the Ministry of Culture named Mariss Jansons “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres“.
As well as these great accomplishments, Jansons has also conducted the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert twice, with the concert televised worldwide in seventy-three countries. He also has conducted Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for Pope Benedict XVI and an audience of 7000 listeners in the Auditorio Paul VI.
Images courtesy of Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.