Born in Moscow, Valery Gergiev initially studied conducting under Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. While still a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in Berlin. In 1978, aged 24, Valery Gergiev became assistant conductor of Yuri Temirkanov at the Mariinsky Opera, where he made his debut conducting Sergei Prokofiev’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s »War and Peace«. More than two decades ago, he assumed his current position as director of the legendary Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, which has since become a cornerstone of operatic culture in Russia.
Valery Gergiev’s close cooperation with the Munich Philharmonic began in the 2011-12 season. Since then, he has performed all symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich and a cycle of works by Igor Stravinsky with both the Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra.
As of the 2015-16 season, the position of chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic is held by Valery Gergiev. Tours have taken the Munich Philharmonic to numerous European cities as well as Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and the USA. Programme highlights conceived by Valery Gergiev include performances of symphonic cycles by Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Rachmaninov as well as new formats, such as the »MPHIL 360°« festival. Concerts are regularly broadcast via live stream and on radio and TV. In September 2016, the first CD recordings documenting the Munich Philharmonic’s work were released under the orchestra’s own label, »MPHIL«. From 2017 to 2019, the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev recorded all of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies in the basilica of St. Florian Monastery, Anton Bruckner’s final resting place. The complete recordings have been released in autumn 2020.
On 13 October 2018 Maestro Valery Gergiev celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Munich Philharmonic by performing Igor Strawinsky’s »Symphonie de Psaumes« and Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 at the Philharmonic Hall at Gasteig in Munich.