Valery Gergiev is well known for his passionate, temperamental style of conducting. He studied conducting with the famous Ilya Musin at the Rimski-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg. Even when still training he won the Herbert von Karajan Competition in Berlin and became assistant conductor with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in St Petersburg.
Since 1996 he has been both Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre. He is also the principal guest conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in New York and honorary conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra.
From 2007 until 2015 Valery Gergiev was music director of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Year in year out he chairs several festivals; the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival was of course named after him.
He has received many awards and decorations for his achievements in the fields of music and society, including the German Bundesverdienstkreuz, the Italian Ufficiale Ordine al Merito and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. At the tenth Gergiev Festival in 2005 he became a Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion.
Valery Gergiev has been a very regular guest of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra since 1991. In April 2015 he conducted the RCO in instrumental parts from Wagner operas and Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with Leonidas Kavakos as soloist. In addition, he gave a conducting Masterclass in collaboration with the orchestra.