Russian conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky dies at 87

Former Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev (L) shakes hands with professor of the Moscow Conservatory and conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky in 2011. (File photo: Reuters)

Russian conductor Gennadi Rozhdestvensky has died at the age of 87, Moscow’s prestigious Bolshoi Theatre announced on Saturday.

“The Bolshoi is in mourning,” the theatre announced on Twitter. “Today, June 16, Gennady Rozhdestvensky passed away at the age of 87.”

Born in Moscow in 1931, Rozhdestvensky -- who was also a pianist and a composer -- was general artistic director of the Bolshoi between 2000 and 2001.

During a career that spanned more than 50 years, he was chief conductor of a number of orchestras both inside and outside Russia, including the Bolshoi orchestra, the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic.

He was awarded the title, “People’s Artist of the USSR” in 1976, the highest cultural distinction in the former Soviet Union.

His repertoire was wide, but he was perhaps best known for his interpretations of Russian composers, such as Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Prokofiev, Sofia Gubaidulina and Alfred Schnittke.

Rozhdestvensky also taught at Moscow’s Conservatory of Music since 1974, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

“When you remember Gennady Rozhdestvensky, you realise what a powerful personality has departed from the world of music,” RIA Novosti quoted the Bolshoi’s current director, Vladimir Urin, as saying.

The London Symphony Orchestra tweeted: “Sad to hear of the death today of the great Gennady Rozhdestvensky. We had a long and fruitful relationship.... Farewell Maestro.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51
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