Performance Wednesday, April 20, 2016 | 8 PM

Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Shostakovich’s “Leningrad” Symphony is a stirring tribute to his native city and its citizens who endured a devastating 900-day siege during World War II. Although Shostakovich never assigned a program to his massively scored symphony, it certainly conjures visions of war, approaching invaders, hope, and victory with a cinematic sensibility. Mariss Jansons, a protégé of Yevgeny Mravinsky (Shostakovich’s favorite conductor) conducts the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in one of the most riveting and deeply moving works of the 20th century.


  • Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Mariss Jansons, Chief Conductor


  • SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 7, "Leningrad"

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.


  • Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Soon after it was founded by Eugen Jochum in 1949, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) developed into an internationally renowned ensemble. The orchestra owes its wide-ranging repertoire and sound spectrum to the preferences of its various chief conductors and the flexibility and stylistic security of the individual musicians. It numbers among the top 10 orchestras in the world, according to several international music magazines.

    Fostering new music has an especially long tradition at the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, with appearances in conjunction with the Musica Viva series, founded in 1945 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann, as one of the orchestra's core missions. At these concerts, Munich audiences have witnessed legendary performances of contemporary works conducted by the composers themselves, who have included Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud, Paul Hindemith, Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mauricio Kagel, Luciano Berio, and Peter Eötvös.

    The BRSO has collaborated with renowned guest conductors that have included Erich and Carlos Kleiber, Charles Munch, Ferenc Fricsay, Otto Klemperer, Karl Böhm, Sir Georg Solti, Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, and Wolfgang Sawallisch. Today, Bernard Haitink, Riccardo Muti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and Daniel Harding regularly lead the ensemble.

    An important educational initiative involves encouragement of up-and-coming young musicians. Since October 2001, the Academy of the BRSO has helped prepare young musicians for their careers.

    The history of the orchestra is closely intertwined with the names of its previous chief conductors. Founder Eugen Jochum led the orchestra for 11 years (1949-1960), while Rafael Kubelík, who headed the orchestra from 1961 to 1979, remained closely associated with it as a guest conductor after that period. Sir Colin Davis, who served as chief conductor from 1983 to 1992, proved an excellent advocate for the Viennese Classical era as well as works by English composers. From 1993 to 2002, Lorin Maazel led the orchestra, performing cycles of symphonic works by Beethoven (1995 and 2000), Brahms (1998), Bruckner (1999), Schubert (2001), and Mahler (2002).

    With a high number of CD releases, which include a series of live recordings of Munich concerts, Mariss Jansons continues to expand the orchestra's vast discography. Its recording of Shostakovich's Symphony No. 13 won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance in 2006. In 2013, the orchestra received an ECHO Klassik award for its recording of Mahler's Symphony No. 9 with Bernard Haitink, and a Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik for Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 conducted by Andris Nelsons. Since September 2009, the orchestra has released CDs and DVDs on Bavarian Broadcasting's own label, BR-KLASSIK. For more information, please visit, facebook/BRSO, or @BRSO on Twitter.

    Mariss Jansons

    Mariss Jansons is considered one of the most outstanding conductors of our time. Born in Riga, Latvia, he studied at the Leningrad Conservatory, in Vienna under Hans Swarowsky, and in Salzburg under Herbert von Karajan. In 1971, he won a prize at the conducting competition of the Herbert von Karajan Foundation in Berlin. That same year, Evgeny Mravinsky made him his assistant with the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (known today as the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra), an ensemble he regularly conducted until 1999.

    Mr. Jansons has served as chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic (1979-2000), principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra (1992-1997), and music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1997-2004). He has been chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2003.

    Mr. Jansons's recordings include the complete symphonies of Shostakovich, and in 2006, his recording of the composer's Symphony No. 13 with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra won a Grammy Award for Best Orchestral Performance. In 2007, he was honored with an ECHO Klassik award for Conductor of the Year. The following year, he received another ECHO Klassik for his recording of Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra and The Miraculous Mandarin, and Ravel's Suite No. 2 from Daphnis et Chloé. Under Mr. Jansons's direction, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra won the ECHO Klassik award for Orchestra of the Year in 2010 in recognition of its recording of Bruckner's Symphony No. 7.

    Mr. Jansons is an honorary member of the Society of the Friends of Music in Vienna as well as the Royal Academy of Music in London. For his work with the Oslo Philharmonic, he was awarded the Royal Norwegian Royal Order of Merit. In 2003, he received the Hans von Bülow Medal from the Berliner Philharmoniker, and in 2004, the Royal Philharmonic Society in London honored him as Conductor of the Year. Other awards include the Three Stars medal by the Republic of Latvia, the Austrian Cross of Honor for Scholarship and Art, and the Bavarian Order of Maximilian. On June 4, 2013, he received the prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize for his life's work as a conductor.

    More Info


SHOSTAKOVICH Symphony No. 7, “Leningrad” (Allegro non troppo)
Mariss Jansons, Conductor | Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
RCO Live

At a Glance

Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 is one of the Russian master’s most searing, epic works, and also one of his most controversial. Written during the siege of Leningrad, it quickly became an emblem of resistance to Fascism, a priceless piece of World War II propaganda, until the Cold War caught up with its reputation. By the 1980s, the work began to be viewed as a commentary on the horrors of Soviet oppression, effectively flipping its original ideological intent. In its ambition and sprawling complexity, the symphony can support either reading—or both. Meanwhile, audiences continue to be thrilled by the visceral power of the work, as they always have.
Program Notes
This performance is part of International Festival of Orchestras I.

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