January 14, 1943 - Riga (Latvia) — November 30, 2019
© Matthias Schrader
Mariss Jansons became the sixth principal conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in September 2004. Since 1988, he has appeared on several occasions as a guest conductor in Amsterdam. Born in Latvia and resident in St. Petersburg, Mr Jansons was chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra from 1979 to 2000, during which time he raised the orchestra’s standing to international level. He subsequently held the post of music director with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to equal success. He has been principal conductor of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks in Munich since September 2003, a post he combines with his position at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
Born in Riga, the young Mariss Jansons moved to the city then known as Leningrad at the age of thirteen. His father, Arvid Jansons, was a renowned conductor who worked for several years as deputy to Yevgeni Mravinsky, head of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra. His mother was an opera singer. Mr Jansons studied violin, piano and orchestra conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory. In 1969, he proceeded to study under Hans Swarowsky in Vienna and Herbert von Karajan in Salzburg. Just two years later, he won the International Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin.
Mariss Jansons’ collaboration with the orchestra of St. Petersburg dates from 1973 when Mravinsky invited him to become his assistant. He has since then made a number of major tours with this orchestra. Leading the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Mariss Jansons has performed in some of the most important music centres in Europe, America and Japan and he was a guest at the Lucerne Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the BBC Proms. He is invited back each year to the Salzburger Festspiele and has his own concert series in Vienna’s Musikverein.
As guest conductor Mariss Jansons has performed with orchestras such as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the orchestras of Cleveland and Philadelphia, the New York Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Symphony Orchestra. He has also been the principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2006 he directed the New Year’s concert in Vienna.
Besides the many well-known records and CDs he made with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mr Jansons has recorded with such orchestras as the Berliner and Wiener Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Many of these recordings won international prizes, including an Edison and a Grammy Award. A series of recordings with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra on its own label RCO Live has received enthusiastic acclaim from public and press alike.
Mariss Jansons has been awarded various international honours for his achievements, including the Cross of Merit from King Harald of Norway and memberships of the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna. In May 2006 he was awarded the Order of the Three Stars, Latvia’s highest state honour.