Munich Philharmonic Orchestra
The Munich Philharmonic was founded in 1893. Since then-and under the direction of a
series of renowned conductors-it has vastly enriched Munich's musical life. In the
orchestra's earliest years, conductors Hans Winderstein and Felix Weingartner guaranteed a
high performance level. Gustav Mahler conducted the orchestra in the world premieres of his
Fourth and Eighth symphonies, and in November 1911, the world premiere of Mahler's Das
Lied von der Erde took place under Bruno Walter's direction. Ferdinand Löwe led the
orchestra's first Bruckner concerts and established its Bruckner tradition, which was then
gloriously continued by Siegmund von Hausegger and Oswald Kabasta. Eugen Jochum opened the
first concert after World War II with Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's
In autumn 1945, the orchestra acquired the services of the outstanding conductor Hans
Rosbaud, who took up the cudgel for new music. His successor, from 1949 to 1965, was Fritz
Rieger, during whose administration the groundwork was laid for the Philharmonic's
successful youth work. During the Rudolf Kempe era (1967-1976), the Philharmonic made its
first tour to the Soviet Union.
In 1979, Sergiu Celibidache conducted his first series of concerts with the orchestra and
was then appointed music director in June of the same year. His legendary Bruckner concerts
made a major contribution to the orchestra's international reputation. From September 1999
until July 2004, the post of chief conductor was held by James Levine, under whose
direction the orchestra was recognized by the German Music Publishers' Association for
having the best concert program of the 2002-2003 season.
In January 2004, the Philharmonic named Zubin Mehta the first conductor laureate in its
history. In May 2003, Christian Thielemann became music director, and in November 2007, he
led the orchestra on a tour to Japan, Korea, and China. These successful performances were
followed by a repeat tour to Japan for five concerts in May 2010.
In September 2010, the orchestra traveled with Mr. Mehta to South America, where it
received plaudits from both press and public. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the
Munich world premiere of Mahler's Symphony
No. 8, Mr. Thielemann led two performances of the work in October 2010. Lorin Maazel has
been music director of the orchestra since the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.
A prominent figure in all the world's major concert halls, Valery Gergiev is the artistic
and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, and since 1988 has taken the
Mariinsky ballet, opera, and orchestra ensembles to more than 45 countries, garnishing
universal acclaim. Maestro Gergiev's 25 years of leadership have also resulted in the
building of the Mariinsky Concert Hall (2006) and the new Mariinsky II theater (2013)
alongside the classic Mariinsky Theatre.
Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2007, Mr. Gergiev performs with
the LSO at the Barbican Centre, BBC Proms, and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as
on extensive tours of Europe, North America, and Asia. In July 2013, he led the inaugural
international tour of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, an
orchestra founded by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. In fall 2015, he will assume
the post of principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. He also is founder
and artistic director of the Stars of the White Nights Festival and the New Horizons
Festival in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev
Festival, the Mikkeli Music Festival, and the Red Sea Classical Music Festival in Israel,
as well as principal conductor of the World Orchestra for Peace.
Mr. Gergiev's record releases with the Mariinsky Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra
continually win awards in Europe, Asia, and America. Recent releases include a Mahler
symphony cycle, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Massenet's Don Quichotte,
Shchedrin's The Enchanted Wanderer, Wagner's Parsifal and Die
Walküre, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7.
Mr. Gergiev has led numerous composer-centered concert cycles in New York, London, and
other international cities, including ones focused on Berlioz, Brahms, Dutilleux, Mahler,
Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner. He has introduced audiences
around the world to several rarely performed Russian operas.
Mr. Gergiev's many awards include the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Netherlands' Knight
of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, and the French Ordre
national de la Légion d'honneur.