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Valery Gergiev, who was born in 1953 in Moscow and grew up in the Caucasus, studied at the Leningrad Conservatory of Music with Ilja Musin and launched his career in 1977 when he won the Karajan Competition in Berlin. The following year he began his collaboration with the Kirov Opera, now known as the Mariinsky Theater, where he made his debut with Prokofiev’s War and Peace. Gergiev was named Artistic Director in 1988 and General Director in 1996; this position is associated with his leadership of the Stars of the White Nights and New Horizons Festivals as well. With the Mariinsky Ensemble he has toured to such countries as Japan, China, Israel, and the United States, as well as all of the leading European music centers. In 2006 he dedicated a new concert hall in St. Petersburg that is was constructed specifically for the Mariinsky Orchestra; this was followed in 2013 by the opening of a second, new opera house. In 1994 Valery Gergiev made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where he served as First Guest Conductor from 1997 to 2008. During this period, from 1995 to 2007, he also helmed the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and from 2007 to 2015 he was Music Director of the London Symphony Orchestra. Since the fall of 2015 Gergiev has held the position of Music Director of the Munich Philharmonic. He has led the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco Symphonies, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam.Along with serving as Chairman of the International Tchaikovsky Competition and the Moscow Easter Festival, he leads the World Orchestra for Peace. Among Valery Gergiev’s numerous distinctions are the Shostakovich Award and the People's Artist of Russia Award; in 2006 he received the Polar Music Prize and the Karajan Music Award.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 20 August 1999 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in works by Kancheli and Beethoven.