It is a great honour and challenge for me to be the Patron of the Serge Prokofiev Association. I fully support the aims of this Association, which are to promote and increase public awareness of the life and work of Serge Prokofiev, one of the most original voices of the first half of the twentieth century.
Much work is needed in order to do justice to Prokofiev’s creativity; new research, new publications and, of course, new performances must be planned. The Kirov Company and Orchestra have invested more time and work in his music than anyone else in the world, and we are fully committed to making his entire output known to a broad international audience. We are envisaging new choreography for his magnificent ballets, and I am personally planning to conduct series of the symphonies and ballet scores.
As Patron of the Serge Prokofiev Association, I pledge to put my name, influence and work to the service of the composer I most revere, and I wish the Association a long and prolific life.
Valery Gergiev is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg, Russia, home to the Kirov Opera & Ballet. He is also Principal Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Principal Guest Conductor of the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Born in Moscow of Ossetian parents, Valery Gergiev studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. At the age of 24 he was the winner of the Herbert von Karajan Conductors Competition in Berlin. He made his Kirov début in 1978 with War & Peace, later becoming Assistant Conductor to Yuri Temirkanov, and was designated Artistic Director and Principal Conductor in 1988. In 1996, the Russian government appointed Valery Gergiev Director of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Gergiev is Artistic Director of St Petersburg’s annual ‘Stars of the White Nights Festival’. He is Director and founder of the ‘Mikkeli International Festival’ in Finland, ‘Peace in the Caucasus Festival’ and the ‘Red Sea Music Festival’ in Eilat, Israel, all featuring the Kirov Opera and Orchestra and major soloists.
The year 2000 was of particular importance to Valery Gergiev who received countless awards, including ’People’s Artist of Russia’, the country’s highest cultural award. A five-week season at Covent Garden marked the first ever joint residency outside St Petersburg of the Kirov Opera and Ballet and the companies were the first foreign visitors to the newly refurbished Royal Opera House.
Valery Gergiev has been recording exclusively for Philips Classics since 1989. His Prokofiev recordings include complete operas, War & Peace, The Fiery Angel, The Gambler, Betrothal in a Monastery, Semyon Kotko and Love for Three Oranges; the complete ballet Romeo & Juliet; and the complete cycle of the piano concertos with Alexander Toradze and the Kirov Orchestra.