Mariss Jansons is considered one of the most outstanding podium personalities of our time. Born in 1943 in Riga as the son of the conductor Arvīds Jansons, he completed his musical education (violin, piano, conducting) at the Leningrad Conservatory and passed with distinction. Afterwards he studied in Vienna under Hans Swarowsky and in Salzburg under Herbert von Karajan. In 1971 Evgeny Mravinsky made him his assistant with the Leningrad Philharmonic, today’s St. Petersburg Philharmonic. He remained closely connected with this orchestra as a regular conductor until 1999.
Conductor of Major Orchestras
From 1979 to 2000 Mariss Jansons set standards as Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic, which he formed into a top international orchestra. In addition he was Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1992-1997) and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1997-2004).
Since 2003, Mariss Jansons has been the Chief Conductor of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (BRSO). In autumn of 2004, he also assumed the post of Chief Conductor of the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam. Apart from his two regular orchestras, he also works regularly with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras and has already led the New Year’s Concert at the Great Golden Hall in Vienna twice. In late April of 2014, Jansons announced that he would allow his contract with the Concertgebouworkest to expire at the end of the season 2014/15. His contract with Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks will be extended until 2021.
Guest Concerts & On Tour
Mariss Jansons has made guest appearances with the Symphonieorchester in virtually every musical capital and festival city in the world. In autumn of 2005, Mariss Jansons and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks did their first joint tour of China and Japan, and were hailed by the Japanese press, with the accolade of “Best Concerts of the Season”.
In 2006 and 2009 they gave several triumphantly successful concerts at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and in 2007, together with the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks in the Vatican for Pope Benedict XVI. The BRSO makes annual appearances as Orchestra in Residence at the Easter Festival in Lucerne under Mariss Jansons’s direction.
The numerous CD and DVD recordings Mariss Jansons has made up to today with the Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks document his wide-ranging repertoire: in 2005, for example, he concluded his recording of the complete symphonies by Shostakovich, in which different orchestras were involved, and which was completed by the BRSO. In February of 2006 his recording of the 13th Symphony won a GRAMMY in the category “Best Orchestral Performance”. The box with all the symphonies, released in the summer of 2006, was awarded a number of prizes. The ECHO Klassik honored Mariss Jansons in 2007 as “Conductor of the Year” and in 2008, his recording of Béla Bartok’s “Concerto for Orchestra” and “A csodolátos mandarin” (The Miraculous Mandarin) as well as the Suite No. 2 from Ravel’s “Daphnis et Chloé” received the accolade, “Best Recoding of the Year”. The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Jansons’s direction won the “Orchestra of the Year” award at ECHO-Klassik 2010 for their recording of Bruckner’s 7th Symphony.
Youth & Education
To collaborate and work with young musicians has a special significance for Mariss Jansons. He has conducted the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra on a European Tour and worked with the Attersee Institute Orchestra, with which he has appeared at the Salzburg Festival. In Munich he has given regular concerts with various Bavarian youth orchestras and with the Academy of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks.
A Wealth of High Honors
Mariss Jansons has been awarded a sizable number of accolades. He is an honorary member of the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna as well as the Royal Academy of Music in London. For his work with the Oslo Philharmonic he was awarded the Norwegian Royal Order of Merit. In 2003 he received the Hans von Bülow Medal from the Berlin Philharmonic, in 2004 the Royal Philharmonic Society in London honored him as “Conductor of the Year”. In 2006, the MIDEM Music Trade Fair declared him “Artist of the Year”. In addition he was awarded the “Three Stars” medal by the Republic of Latvia. In 2009 he received the “Austrian Cross of Honor for Scholarship and Art”, and in 2010, he received the Bavarian “Order of Maximilian”. The cycle of all the Beethoven symphonies, performed by the BRSO under his direction in the autumn of 2012 in Tokyo was hailed by the Music Pen Club of Japan, the society of Japanese music journalists, as the best concerts by foreign musicians in Japan that year. The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert has already been conducted twice by Mariss Jansons. On June 4, 2013, he received the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for his life’s work as a conductor. On October 4, 2013, in Berlin, Joachim Gauck awarded him the Federal cross of Merit, 1st Class.