Gennady Rozhdestvensky receives International Shostakovich Prize

20 January 2016

Staatskapelle Dresden has awarded this year’s International Shostakovich Prize to Maestro Gennady Rozhdestvensky.

The award is given in association with the orchestra’s annual Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch (Saxonian Switzerland), which Mo Rozhdestvensky will open in June 2017.

The prestigious Prize is bestowed in recognition of the Maestro’s lifelong connection and outstanding contribution to the work of Dmitri Shostakovich.

Over the years, Gennady Rozhdestvensky has recorded all of Shostakovich’s symphonies with the USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra and has led many other performances of them with orchestras worldwide.

He has revived, orchestrated and subsequently recorded many Shostakovich scores such as ‘Hypothetically Murdered’. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 43, was written between 1935 and 1936. Due to the tense political climate, the composer was forced to suppress the work, which did not receive its premiere until 1961 – eight years after Stalin’s death. Rozhdestvensky led the Western debut of the piece at the Edinburgh Festival a year later.

In 1974 he conducted the revival of The Nose at the Moscow Chamber Theatre, having found a copy of the score abandoned in a cellar deep within the Bolshoi Theatre. Shostakovich was delighted at the find of the music which he believed lost.

Rozhdestvensky says, “It would be difficult to over-estimate the significance of my relations with Dmitri Shostakovich” as he opened a “musical universe” for him, “like a gigantic magnifying glass reflecting our fragile world.”

Previous recipients of the Award include Michail Jurowski, Natalia Gutman and Kurt Sanderling.

Next month he returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, after a fifteen-year absence, performing the first and last of Shostakovich’s Symphonies.

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