Gennady Rozhdestvensky is represented by Rayfield Allied worldwide (excluding Switzerland).

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Gennady Rozhdestvensky

Conductor

  • Hearing this man conduct the orchestra at Salle Pleyel was a spiritual experience. His broad tempos and depth of understanding are combined with a magic - is there another word? - he has over musicians.
    Frank Cadenhead, La Scene Musicale
  • Few conductors do so little and achieve so much as Rozhdestvensky.
    Keith Powers, The Boston Herald
  • It’s always a treat to have Rozhdestvensky back: he teases out the music with the nudge-and-wink school of conducting, and with a razor-sharp mind behind it all.
    Hilary Finch, The Times
  • Gennady Rozhdestvensky, one of today’s greatest conductors, was born in Moscow in 1931. He studied the piano with Lev Oborin and conducting with his father, Nikolaï Anosov, at the Moscow Conservatoire. At the age of 20, he was engaged at the Bolshoi Theatre where he made his début conducting Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty. His was to be a long term relationship with the Bolshoi: he became their principal conductor between 1964 and 1970, and in 2000 was appointed their General Music Director.

    For many years, he also headed the Moscow Radio Orchestra and became the first Soviet conductor, ever to be appointed principal conductor of various foreign orchestras: the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, and the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Gennady Rozhdestvensky also conducted an impressive number of performances at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (Boris Godunov and new productions of The Golden Cockrell and The Nutcracker), at the Paris Opera (The Queen of Spades), at La Scala (The Legend of Tsar Saltan by Rimsky-Korsakov and Der fliegende Holländer) among others.

    He has also participated in dozens of world premieres of new or newly found works, some of which were dedicated to him: works by composers including Prokofiev, Shostakovitch, John Tavener, Alfred Schnittke, Rodion Shchédrine etc. In 2001, he gave the first performance of the original version of Prokofiev’s opera The Gambler at the Bolshoi Theatre.

    His prolific discography reveals his insatiable curiosity and makes him one of the most recorded conductors of all time. His present catalogue features well over 400 records comprising the astounding number of 786 different works.

    Rozhdestvensky is the recipient of the French Legion of honour, of the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, and an Honorary Member of the Stockholm and British Academies. In 2014, he received an honorary CBE for his services to music.

    In 2011, he celebrated his 80th birthday together with the 60th anniversary of his conducting debut with a special evening at the Bolshoi Theatre (New Stage) in which he conducted scenes from The Sleeping Beauty, the Coronation scene from Boris Godunov and Rachmaninov’s 2nd Symphony.

    • Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 in C minor, op. 65
      London Philharmonic Orchestra Recording (Remaster of 1983)

      This is a magnificent interpretation of one of the greatest post-Mahlerian symphonies of the twentieth century which should be heard by all admirers of this composer (which means admirers of both composers). It is a performance from 1983, recorded live, which implies that not every last note is quite perfect, but the sweep and intensity of Gennady Rozhdestvensky’s conducting are remarkably impressive and the LPO plays with considerable commitment and attention to detail. Rozhdestvensky’s tempos are exactly right and his coherence throughout this hour-long work is exemplary: this is very fine conducting indeed... it is the consistent intensity and imagination of Rozhdestvensky’s conducting that capture the listener.
      Robert Matthew-Walker, International Record Review, April 2013
      Conducted by Gennady Rozhdestvensky, it's a formidable performance, less self-consciously ironic than some, but immensely strong on raw power … Rozhdestvensky is particularly good at cumulative tension: the gathering dissonances of the first movement, the relentless pace of the second scherzo and the formal grief of the passacaglia are immaculately judged.
      Tim Ashley, The Guardian
    • Shostakovich with the Orchestra of Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
      Teatro dell'Opera di Roma

      L’Alfa e l’omega di Shostakovich. In uno straordinario concerto dell’Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma il maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky ha diretto sabato la prima e l’ultima Sinfonia di Shostakovich, la Prima e la Quindicesima. L’orchestra romana è di portentosa abilità. Se dovessi citare il nome di tutti i solisti occuperei lo spazio di un’intera pagina. Il maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky, ottantenne, è uno dei più grandi direttori viventi; fu sodale di Shostakovich sì che per questo e per le sue eccezionali qualità risulta l’interprete più fedele del compositore. Ha una tecnica del gesto tutta sua, con bacchetta lunghissima, basata sulle articolazioni del polso. Anche lui, tanto per cambiare, venne portato in Italia da Francesco Siciliani. E non con un autore russo, ma con un autore del quale in Russia esiste una radicatissima tradizione, Hector Berlioz.
      Paolo Isotta, Corriere della Sera
      Si apre con un vero e proprio evento musicale la nuova stagione sinfonica 2013 del Teatro dell’Opera. Una inaugurazione preziosa per l’unione di due famose composizioni di un grande musicista e l’esecuzione del suo massimo interprete: Dmitri Shostakovich e il maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky, quest’ultimo amico e protagonista della riscoperta delle opera del musicista russo.
      La Repubblica
      Prima Gennady Rozdestvensky - ultimo superstite di coloro che furono amici e sodali di Sostakovic e ne ricevettero precise indicazioni su come eseguirne la musica - ha offerto un'esecuzione memorabile della prima e dell'ultima sinfonia del compositore russo, ottenendo dall'orchestra una risposta magnifica... Lo spazio costringe a un generico "bravi tutti" gli interpreti dei cinquanta personaggi…lunghi applause
      Mauro Mariani, Il giornale della musica
    • Mussorgsky, Glazunov and Shostakovich with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra
      February 2012

      [The Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra] have achieved remarkable success through their enthusiasm to open up new avenues with a Russian series. With the greatest maestro of the former Soviet Union, Gennady Rozhdestvensky as guest conductor, the orchestra surpassed their previous self-confidence and maturity. In particular, Shostakovich Symphony No. 8 was, without a doubt, fantastic. Despite the weakness of the work due to the ambiguous ending, they made such great powers of persuasion that it blew away all your worries. The Maestro made his own very unique interpretation not yet heard on any recordings. The madness and the catastrophe of the Second World War emerged so clearly
      Moon-Kyung Kim, SPO Magazine
    • Concert with Viktoria Postnikova & l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice
      (February 2011)

      Ce chef qu’on a vu entrer, vendredi soir, d’un pas mesuré, sur la scène du conservatoire, est un phénomène de la musique. A 80 ans, Guennady Rojdestvinsky fait partie de la légende des grands chefs d’orchestre russes. Durant les deux dernières semaines à Nice, il a enchaîné, soir après soir, les repetitions et representations de “Boris Godounov” à l’opéra et du concert au conservatoire. Entraîné par ses gestes amples et calmes, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Nice lui a obéi au doigt et à l’oeil. Le public lui a reserve une standing ovation à l’issue de la V symphonie de Tchaïkovsky. Dans le romantique concerto de Rimsky-Korsakov, il eut pour soliste sa propre femme, la pianiste Viktoria Postnikova. On la vit arriver avec son allure altière, couronnée de tresses, dans une longue robe rose: la reine Viktoria en personne! Le dialogue des deux époux, I’une à son clavier, l’autre à la tête de l’orchestre, émeut les publics du monde depuis trente-cinq ans. Mais force est de constater que, chez les Rojdestvinsky, c’est le mari qui mène la femme à la baguette!
      Nice Matin
    • Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Viktoria Postnikova (Piano)
      (January 2010)

      La pianista Viktoria Postnikova e il direttore d’orchestra Gennadi Rozdestvenskij, che sono moglie e marito, hanno eseguito a Santa Cecilia due composizioni tra le meno usurate di Piotr Ilic Ciaikovskij. Lei, Viktoria, è una matrioska dalla treccia appuntata a coroncina attorno alla testa, come le contadine slave d’altri tempi…ma è anche l’ultimo esemplare della prestigiosa scuola pianistica russa del passato. Lui, Gennadi, è il più grande interprete della musica di Ciaikovskij, ed è anche l’unico capace di aggirare la privacy del compositore, la sua vis ipocondriaco-sentimentale. Perché racconto queste cose? Perchè il secondo Concerto in sol maggiore per pianoforte e orchestra di Piotr Ilic (40 minuti di musica) e il “Manfred”, un grande affresco in quattro quadri (55 minuti di musica) erano una sorta di “unicum”, quindi prenotatevi all’ultima replica di oggi, un’occasione sorprendente d’ascolto della musica di Ciaikovskij quale dev’essere stata all’origine – Ciaikovskij per così dire nudo e crudo – chi altri oserà mai sbrinarlo dal ciarpame kitsch, che il demi-monde gli ha surgelato addosso nei decenni, se non Gennadi? Disponeva oltretutto di una splendida spalla, Gregory Ahss, affiancato nel Concerto per violino dal violoncellista Luigi Piovano. Ma è ora di approfondire le ragioni della intrigante signora Postnikova. Ascoltandola veniva fatto di pensare a quella che forse è stata la sua scuola. La pretigiosa scuola del pianista russo Lescitizki, che suonando faceva “partire” il peso delle dita dal gomito, anziché dalla spalla. Di qui la postura ravvicinata alla tastiera della Postnikova. Di qui le dita arrotondate e, di conseguenza, la tecnica “sgranata”, piuttosto che “spolverata” scorrevole sui tasti. Di qui infine la qualità degli accordi decisamente percussiva, anziché morbida e piena (come detta il pianismo aggiornato). Eppure, il brano che la Postnikova ha poi elargito piano, pianissimo, fuori programma (uno dei tanti piccoli brani per pianoforte di Ciaikovskij), ha rivelato il talento di una Matrioska diversa, segreta e discreta. A scegliere quel nonnulla sospiroso dev’essere stata la più piccola della serie di bambole inserite l’una nell’altra. Chi domerà mai la Matrioska Postnikova?
      Corriere Della Sera
    • “A Legend at the Arts Festival”: Iceland Symphony Orchestra [5 stars]
      (May 2009)

      It isn´t often that true legends occupy the stage of Háskólabíó. But the conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky is certainly among the few. He has been one of Russia´s leading musicians for decades. Composers have dedicated their works to him and he has given the premiéres of some great works of the 20th century. Yet despite his undeniable stature, Rozhdestvensky conducts with small gestures. The earlier work on the concert, piano concerto no. 24 by Mozart, one hardly noticed him. His wife, Viktoria Postnikova, was the soloist. Her interpretation was beautiful, with soft and refined gestures and poetically shaped phrasing. It is a known fact that Mozart´s music is extremely delicate in performance. It is so pure that the slightest mishaps can be clearly heard and disturb the overall effect. This sometimes leads performers to being overly precise and mechanical, which stifles the music-making, makes it boring and mechanical. But Postnikova played Mozart freely, at times almost romantically, yet never crossed the line. On the contrary, her interpretation was honest and gentle. The outcome as a whole was a rare delight. The same can be said for the massive Leningrad-symphony by Shostakovich. Despite the immense struggle depicted in the work, Rodestvensky was a relaxed figure on the podium, his movements were precise and to the point, with no unneccessary movements. And the Iceland Symphony Orchestra played like a major-league orchestra. The percussionists, led by Steef van Ousterhout on the snare drum, were completely in command. The giant brass section had a tight and impressive sound, and the woodwinds were also excellent, including some very beautiful flute solos. The strings had a beautiful texture, but were also threatening when the music required. Threat is a big element in this work, regardless of the precise meaning of the music. Shostakovich composed the work in 1941 as Nazi troops began surrounding the city of Leningrad. Yet during this performance, it was the music itself that spoke to the audience, making any additional commentary unneccessary. In such a breathtaking performance, the music was all that mattered. I think it is safe to say that this concert was one of the most important the Iceland Symphony Orchestra has given in its 60-year history.
      Morgunbladid
    • “Gennady Rozhdestvensky Spins Magic”: Salle Pleyel
      (January 2009)

      Hearing this man conduct the orchestra at Salle Pleyel was a spiritual experience. His broad tempos and depth of understanding are combined with a magic - is there another word? - he has over musicians. Keeping the same program, the first half took on Wagner with a symphony created by the overture to Meistersinger, the prelude to Parsifal and the overture to Tannhauser with Cesar Franck's Symphony in D minor to finish off the evening. Watching the musicians, members of an orchestra which gets little respect, in total awe and playing like they have never done before, was a lesson in the alchemy of great conductors. With a single-minded commitment, finding the right balance between raw passion and precise musicianship (not usually their forte) they were simply inspired. The leader's stretched-to-near-breaking phrasing and unpredictable retards seemed second nature to them, like he was their long-time music director instead of someone who appeared only a day or so before. This is both the blessing and curse of French orchestras. They love the challenge of intemperate music making but dislike the discipline of night-after-night perfection. On those intemperate nights, however, miracles can happen.
      La Scene Musicale
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