Renowned Russian conductor Valery Gergiev has accepted an offer to direct the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra as of 2015. The contract is due to be signed on February 1. In the meantime, the orchestra is giving a series of concerts in Munich under Gergiev’s baton. This is not his first appearance with the Munich Philharmonic. “We have known each other well and I am glad that our cooperation is expanding,” the maestro said in an interview.
Last year, he treated the Munich public to a series of concerts under the title “Gergiev’s Shostakovich”. Paul Mueller, the Munich Philharmonic’s Executive Director, thinks that those concerts gave Germans a deeper insight into Shostakovich’s legacy.
"It’s a very special event because maestro Gergiev arrives from St. Petersburg where these pieces were composed, and it brings us closer to their roots."
Gergiev’s nomination as the Music Philharmonic’s chief conductor won the unanimous approval of both the musicians and the City Hall, just as six years ago he had been unanimously approved to lead the London Symphony Orchestra. Judging from his work style, one would expect more Russian classical music on the Munich Philharmonic’s repertoire. Suffice it to recall his previous “Russian projects”: “All of Prokofiev’s Symphonies” with the London Orchestra, a three-week festival of Stravinsky’s music with the New York Philharmonic, and others. Gergiev is known as a tireless promoter of Russian music abroad, which puts him on a par with the famous Russian impresario of the early 20th century Sergei Diaghilev and other great figures of the past, says St. Petersburg Conservatory professor Leonid Gakkel.
"Russian musical culture was introduced into the world thanks to one man’s efforts. Just as Diaghilev in the past, not Anna Pavlova, or Nijinsky, or Benois, but Diaghilev, Gergiev is doing a lot today to advance this cause. His musical talent forms an amazing synergy with his managerial skills."
Gergiev’s current concerts in Munich offer pieces by contemporary Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina.