Vladimir Jurowski
chief conductor & artistic director

Vladimir Jurowski has been the chief conductor and artistic director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin (RSB) since 2017. Right from the start, he has a programme policy at heart that reaches deep into the social relevance of public concerts. Here, it is clear to Vladimir Jurowski that such a responsibility in dealing with music performers and audiences can lead away from the traditional comfort zone and “the bourgeois way of enjoying art” (Jurowski)to a certain extent: “It is important that it shakes up. You have to accept this risk if you want to make a difference at all”, he confessed to Albrecht Selge in an interview for the online magazine “VAN” in 2018.

Vladimir Jurowski fotografiert von Simon Pauly
Vladimir Jurowski © Simon Pauly

Started in 2017/2018 with Beethoven symphonies in versions by Gustav Mahler, combined with music from the Second Viennese School, continued in 2018/2019 with works by Brett Dean and Gustav Mahler in the context of an RSB season under the motto “Human and their habitat”, Vladimir Jurowski will present compositions in Berlin in 2019/2020, which illuminate the inner values ​​of the human being, allow them to become familiar with the foreign, and help him critically question the familiar.

The conductor, pianist, and musicologist Jurowski knows no musical-historical, stylistic, or conducting technique related boundaries. Nothing is further from him as a personal goal than that imaginary point at which a person could say: I have finished learning. “Perhaps Jurowski is even the ideal student among the conductors: not because he is wandering, but because he is piercing” (Albrecht Selge). He is equally an accomplished advocate of the most recent works of contemporary music and the historically informed performance practice of the Baroque and Classical eras. His specialities include the music of the transition phase of the Fin de Siècle by Strauss and Mahler and the musical masterpieces of 20th century, e.g. by Stravinsky, Shostakovich or Prokofiev. And he is of course proficient in the 19th century symphonic core repertoire of Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, and Dvořák.

Training and engagements

Trained first at the Moscow Conservatory, in the city where he was born in 1972, Vladimir Jurowski came to Germany in 1990 with his family. Here he continued his studies at the conservatories in Dresden and Berlin – conducting under Rolf Reuter; as répétiteur and song accompanist under Semion Skigin. In 1996, he made his début internationally at the Wexford Festival with Rimsky-Korsakov’s “May Night” and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in the same year with “Nabucco”. Next, he was the principal conductor of the Komische Oper Berlin (1997 – 2001) and music director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera (2001 – 2013). In 2003, Vladimir Jurowski was appointed the principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and has been the principal conductor since 2007. In addition, he is the artistic director of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra “Yevgeny Svetlanov” of the Russian Federation, artistic director of the International George Enescu Festival in Bucharest and principal artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Great Britain. He regularly works with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the ensemble unitedberlin. With the start of the 2021/2022 season, Vladimir Jurowski will assume one of the most prestigious positions in the German musical life in addition to his involvement with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin: He has been the designated general music director of the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich since 2018.

What tempts him about Berlin is that he can work in the city where his family lives, without giving up his involvements in London, Moscow, New York, Amsterdam, Salzburg, or Munich. He has settled for the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin because he knows and appreciates it since he was a student. “I always felt that this is an orchestra I can relate to.”

Concerts worldwide

Vladimir Jurowski is sought after as a guest conductor all over the world. He has conducted concerts of major orchestras in Europe and North America, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the New Yorker Philharmoniker, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Cleveland and the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra of Boston and Chicago, the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig.

In the spring of 2019, he performed in Japan with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, and concerts will be performed at the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest in the fall of 2019. He has conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra at festivals such as the BBC Proms, the George Enescu Festival in Bucharest, the Musikfest Berlin, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Rostropovich Festival in Moscow. 2018 reflected the spirit of a concert series with works by Stravinsky and his influences and contemporaries. In addition, Jurowski conducted concertante opera performances such as Enescu’s “Oedipe” (in London and Bucharest) and Wagner’s “Rheingold”. Highlights included Beethoven’s “Fidelio”, Mahler’s Symphony No. 8, Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion and Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. He has developed a striking individual profile in Russia with the “Yevgeny Svetlanov” State Academic Symphony Orchestra, focusing strongly on the contemporary repertoire and exploring references of Shakespeare in music, theatre, and film of the former Soviet Union.

As a guest, Vladimir Jurowski conducted Prokofiev’s “Semyon Kotko” with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest der Niederlande at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, made his début at the Salzburg Easter Festivals with the Staatskapelle Dresden, made his début with the Czech Philharmonic, joined the Gustav-Mahler-Jugendorchester and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Lucerne Festival and managed a unique project with the London Sinfonietta in Moscow on the occasion of the Anglo-Russian year of cultural exchange.

Opera conducting

Vladimir Jurowski has been on the international opera stages since 1996. With “Rigoletto” he made his début at the Metropolitan Opera New York and has been there again with “Jenůfa”, “The Queen of Spades”, “Hänsel und Gretel” and “Frau ohne Schatten”. He conducted “Parsifal” and “Wozzeck” at the Welsh National Opera, “War and Peace” and the 1869 original version of “Boris Godunov” at the Opéra National de Paris, “Eugene Onegin” at the Scala in Milan, “Ruslan and Lyudmila” at the Bolshoi Theatre as well as “Iolanthe”, “The Devils of Loudon” at the Dresdner Semperoper and “Die Gezeichneten” at the Opernhaus Zürich. At the opera festival in Glyndebourne, he directed works such as “The Magic Flute”, “Otello”, “Macbeth”, “Falstaff”, “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Tristan und Isolde”, “Don Giovanni”, “The Rake’s Progress”, “The Cunning Little Vixen”, “Ariadne auf Naxos”, and Peter Eötvös’s “Love and Other Demons”. In 2017, he returned to the Glyndebourne Opera for the world premiere of Brett Dean’s “Hamlet”. In 2015, he directed a celebrated new production of Schönberg’s “Moses und Aron” at the Komische Oper Berlin and made his début at the Bayerische Staatsoper with Prokofiev’s “The Fiery Angel”. He made his début with Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” at the Salzburg Festival in 2017. In 2019 he conducted the world premiere of Alexander Vustin’s Jacques Cazotte opera “The Devil in Love” at the Moscow Stanislavsky Theatre.

CDs and DVDs

The first joint CD by Vladimir Jurowski and the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin from 2015 became a milestone almost immediately: Alfred Schnittke’s powerful Symphony No. 3 was followed in 2017 by a Strauss-Mahler recording and violin concertos by Britten and Hindemith (Arabella Steinbacher) with the RSB. Other studio recordings and RSB concert recordings on CD are being prepared or in planning. With the PENTATONE label, Vladimir Jurowski also presented a series of Russian works with the Russian National Orchestra. The CD spectrum with the London Philharmonic Orchestra includes all symphonies by Brahms, Mahler’s First and Second Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Symphonies No. 1, 4, 5, 6 and “Manfred”, works by Beethoven, Turnage, Holst, Britten, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, Zemlinsky, Honegger, Haydn, and Rachmaninoff. Jurowski’s days as the music director of the Glyndebourne Opera has been documented with numerous CD and DVD releases. Other DVDs include “Hansel and Gretel” from the Metropolitan Opera New York, Beethoven’s Symphonies No. 4 and 7 with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and works by Strauss and Ravel with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, all published by Medici Arts.

Honours and awards

Vladimir Jurowski has received many awards for his achievements, including numerous international record awards. Most recently, the jury of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards voted him Conductor of the Year of 2018. Two years earlier, he had received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Music in London from the hands of Prince Charles.

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