Mariss Jansons’ concerts, recordings, television and radio broadcasts, and his performances and international tours with many of the world’s greatest orchestras, have made him one of the most admired and respected conductors in the world today.
Born in Riga, he studied at Leningrad Conservatory before winning the International Herbert von Karajan Foundation Conducting Competition in Berlin in 1971. From 1971 until 1999 he was Associate Principal Conductor of the St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad) Philharmonic, and from 1979 to 2000 he was Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic. Under his leadership, and through his tireless advocacy of the orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic became one of Norway’s prized cultural treasures, and one of the world’s most esteemed orchestras. Between 1992 and 1997 Mariss Jansons also held the title of Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic, and from 1997 until the season 2003/04 was Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Mariss Jansons became Chief Conductor of the Symphonieorchesters and Chores des Bayerischen Rundfunks at the beginning of the 2003/04 season, and also Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam in autumn 2004.
Among the numerous international awards, prizes and honours he has received are the Commander With Star of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, and Honourary Membership of both the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna.
His recordings of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies with the Oslo Philharmonic established that orchestra’s international stature, and are still the most popular set of Tchaikovsky symphony recordings today. The success of these recordings was chronicled in a BBC-TV series, “Jansons Conducts”.
In addition to his commitments as a performer, Mariss Jansons held the post of Professor of Conducting at the St. Petersburg Conservatory from 1971 to 2000.