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Mariss Jansons †

Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra

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Sunday, 1 December 2019

The Bavarian Radio Chorus deeply mourns the death of its chief conductor Mariss Jansons

Among our abiding memories are our many exceptional encounters with him and many deeply impressive concerts featuring especially large-scale works in which he was able to marshal his forces musically and artistically in a unique way virtually unmatched by any other conductor. We should like to take this opportunity to extend our profound symphony to his wife Irina and to his whole family.

Susanne Vongries, Managerin of the Bavarian Radio Chorus
And the Chorus Board

Mariss Jansons (c) Peter Meisel

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 he won a prize at the Conducting Competition of the “Herbert von Karajan Foundation” in Berlin. That same year 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 Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) with which he succeeded to create an atmosphere of the highest artistic standards and a close emotional ties. From 2004 to 2015 he also assumed the post of Chief Conductor of the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam. Among other orchestras he also works regularly with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics. In 2016 he conducted the world famous New Year’s Concert in Vienna for the third time. His contract with Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks should have lasted until 2024.

Guest Concerts & On tour

Mariss Jansons has made guest appearances with the BRSO and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest in virtually every musical capital and festival city in the world. The first joined tour with the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra to China and Japan took place in autumn of 2005. The concerts were hailed by the Japanese press, with the accolade of “Best Concerts of the Season”. In 2012 the society of Japanese music journalists announced the cycle of all Beethoven Symphonies he performed with the BRSO to be the best concerts by foreign musicians in Japan that year. The Bavarian Radio Chorus, BRSO and Mariss Jansons made regular appearances as Orchestra in Residence at the Easter Festival in Lucerne.

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 Bavarian Symphony Orchestra.

Award-winning Recordings

The numerous CD and DVD recordings which Mariss Jansons has made up to today with both the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest and the Bavarian Radio Chorus and Symphony Orchestra document his wide-ranging repertoire. These releases gained many important international prizes, among them a GRAMMY for the “Best Orchestral Perfomance” for the recording of Shostakovitch’s complete symphonies.

Among many other merits Mariss Jansons was honored as the “Conductor of the Year” in 2007 with  the ECHO Klassik and 2011 by “Opernwelt” magazine. The Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks under Jansons’s baton won the “Orchestra of the Year” award at ECHO-Klassik 2010 for their recording of Bruckner’s 7th Symphony.

One of the world’s most important and renown music awards he received in 2013: The “Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis”.

A wealth of high honors

Mariss Jansons’ list of the entire accolades is long and mirrors his achievements for culture and art.

Among these he was awarded the Norwegian “Royal Order of Merit”, the Austrian “Cross of Honor for Scholarship and Art”, the “Three Stars” Medal of the Republic of Latvia and he received the Bavarian “Order of Maximilian”. In 2013 he was awarded the German “Federal Cross of Merit, 1st Class”, was made a “Knight of the Lion of the Netherlands” and appointed “Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres”, the highest cultural award of the French Republic.

For his life achievement Mariss Jansons was honored in March 2015 with the “Latvian Great Music Award” which is the country’s most important artistic recognition. In November 2017 he became the 104th award winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Golden Medal – one of the most prestigious awards in the world of music.

In March 2018, Mariss Jansons received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, Denmark’s highest musical award. He received a honorary membership by the Vienna Philharmonic in June 2018 during his 110th conducting of this orchestra. Seiji Ozawa, Georges Prêtre, Leonard Bernstein and Nikolaus Harnoncourt received this award before among others.

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