VALERY GERGIEV is internationally recognized as one of the most outstanding musical figures today. His inspired leadership as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he oversees the Kirov Orchestra, Ballet, and Opera, has brought universal acclaim to this distinguished organization. Together with the Kirov Opera and Orchestra, Gergiev has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, as well as to China, Japan, South America, Australia, and Israel. In addition to his leadership of the Mariinsky Theatre he is also the Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Artistic Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic/Gergiev Festival presented each September, Director and Founder of the Mikkeli International Festival in Finland, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera.
Gergiev and the Kirov Opera have appeared in residencies at the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Chatelet in Paris, and Graz Opera House. Gergiev has appeared as guest conductor with the Vienna Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the Philharmonia of London, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the National Symphony, and the Pittsburgh Symphony.
Born in Moscow to Ossetian parents, Gergiev studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. He won the Herbert von Karajan Conductors Competition in Berlin at age 24 and made his Kirov Opera debut in 1978 with War and Peace. He was appointed Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 1988. He is the recipient of the Dmitri Shostakovich Award and the Golden Mask Award, the most prestigious theater prize in Russia. Musical America named him Conductor of the Year, and he was named the People's Artist of Russia, the country's highest cultural award.
Gergiev has recorded exclusively for Universal (Philips) Classics since 1989. His recordings with the Kirov encompass opera, ballet, and symphony repertoire. His recent releases include Shostakovich Symphony No. 7, Gubaidulina Viola Concerto with Yuri Bashmet, the Tchaikovsky and Miaskovsky violin concertos with Vadim Repin, and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade, which has been internationally acclaimed as one of the best recordings of this work.