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Gennady Rozhdestvensky
Gennady Rozhdestvensky

Gennady Rozhdestvensky (4 May 1931, Moscow – 16 June 2018) was a Russian conductor. Rozhdestvensky was born into a musical family. His name at first was Gennady Nikolayevich Anosov. When he started his musical career, he took his mother's maiden name.

Rozhdestvensky studied conducting with his father Nikolai Anosov at the Moscow Conservatory. He studied piano with the great pianist Lev Oborin. When he was 20 years old, he conducted Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre. He soon became famous. He gave the first performances of many works of Soviet composers, as well as the first Russian performance of Benjamin Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Rozhdestvensky has conducted many orchestras and made many recordings.

In 1969, he married the pianist Viktoria Postnikova.

Rozhdestvensky is known for keeping his rehearsals short. He does this so that the orchestra do not get tired and are fresh for the performance. Sometimes he walks about the stage while he conducts. He does not stand on a podium (a raised platform).

Orchestras he has conducted

  • 1951-61 Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre (conductor)
  • 1961-74 Symphony Orchestra of All-Union Radio and Television (Moscow)
  • 1964-70 Orchestra of the Bolshoi Theatre (principal conductor)
  • 1974-85 Chamber Theatre Orchestra
  • 1974-77 Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (artistic director)
  • 1978-81 BBC Symphony Orchestra (chief conductor)
  • 1980-82 Vienna Symphony Orchestra
  • 1983-91 USSR Ministry of Culture Symphony Orchestra
  • 1992-95 Royal Stockholm Philharmonic

He has also conducted many of the world's greatest orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Royal Concertgebouw, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra.


  • His name "Rozhdestvensky" means "Christmas".
  • Sometimes, when he feels the orchestra are well prepared for a concert, he cancels a rehearsal so that the orchestra have some free time. In Russia, the players in the orchestra sometimes call this "Rozhdestvensky kanikuli" ("Christmas holidays").
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