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Gennadi Rozhdestvensky

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky, one of the greatest conductors of the day, was born in Moscow in 1931. He studied the piano with Lev Oborin and conducting with his father, Nikolaï Anosov, at the Moscow Conservatoire. At the unusually early age of 20, still a student at the Conservatoire, he was engaged at the Bolshoi Theatre where he made his début conducting Tchaiikovsky's ballet The Sleeping Beauty. His was to be a long term relationship with the Bolshoi: he became their principal conductor between 1964 and 1970, and in 2000 was appointed their General Music Director.

At the Bolshoi, he has conducted more than thirty operas and ballets, and gave the world premiere of Khatchaturian's ballet Spartacus and the Russian premiere of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. From 1956 on, he toured regularly with the Bolshoi ballet in Europe, Asia and America.

For many years, he also headed the Moscow Radio Orchestra and became the first Soviet conductor, a novelty at the time, ever to be appointed principal conductor of various foreign orchestras: the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In the 1970's, he headed the Moscow Chamber Opera. There he brought back to life Shostakovitch's "lost" opera, The Nose, and conducted The Rake's Progress by Stravinsky. At the same time, he created the new Ministry of Culture Orchestra with which he gave hundreds of concerts in Russia and abroad and recorded over 200 works, among which, the complete symphonies of Shostakovitch, Prokofiev, Glazunov and Bruckner, and a large amount of works by Schnittke, Denisov and Gubaidulina.

Gennadi Rozhdestvensky also conducted an impressive number of performances in some of the most prestigious European theatres: at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Boris Godunov, and the Nutcracker), at the Paris Opera (the Queen of Spades), at La Scala (The Legend of Tsar Saltan by Rimsky-Korsakov and Wagner's Flying Dutchman) among others.

He has also participated in dozens of world premieres of new or newly re-discovered works, some of which were dedicated to him, with pieces by composers such as Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, John Tavener, Peter Maxwell Davies, Alfred Schnittke, Rodion Shchedrine etc. In 2001, he gave the first performance of the original version of Prokofiev's opera The Gambler at the Bolshoi Theatre.

His proliferating discography reveals his insatiable curiosity and makes him one of the most recorded conductors of all time. His present catalogue features well over 400 records comprising the astounding number of 786 different works.

Rozhdestvensky is the recipient of the French Legion of honour, of the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, and an Honorary Member of the Stockholm and British Academies. For more than thirty years, Gennadi Rozhdestvensky has held the professorial Chair of Conducting at the Moscow Conservatoire. He regularly leads master-classes in various countries. In 2006, the first GennadI Rozhdestvensky International Competition for Conductors took place in Bulgaria.

The distinguished French film maker Bruno Monsaingeon has recently devoted two of his films to Gennadi Rozhdestvensky.
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