Obituary: Mariss Jansons Dies At 76

By Dejan Vukosavljevic

Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons died last night Nov. 30, 2019 at his home in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jansons, who was  76 years old, died of an apparent longstanding heart condition.

Born in Riga, Jansons entered the Leningrad Conservatoryin 1956 to study piano and conducting and continued his training with Hans Swarowsky in Vienna and Herbert Von Karajan in Salzburg. Shortly after he would become Karajan’s  assistant with the Berlin Philharmonic

During his long and fruitful career, Jansons conducted several major orchestras, including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He also served as Music Director of the Oslo Philharmonic for 21 years, between 1979 and 2000 and in 2002 he was appointed the sixth Chief Conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, a position he held until 2015. During the 2003-04 season, Jansons began his tenure as Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and was expected to conclude his contract 2021.

Among his most famous presentations included the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s concert which he led in 2006, 2012 and 2016.

Throughout his career, Jansons was awarded several prestigious international honors for his achievements, including Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 2013, Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal in 2017, Berliner Philharmoniker Honorary Membership in 2018 and Herbert von Karajan Prize at the Salzburg Easter Festival in 2019.

The conductor left a number of recordings, including Bruckner Symphony No. 7, Mahler Symphonies No. 5, No. 7 and No. 9, Britten’s War Requiem, Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, Strauss’ Four Last Songs, Dvořák’s Stabat Mater and Tchaikovsky’s “The Queen of Spades.”

Here he is conducting Anja Harteros in the Four Last Songs

And here he is conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in the New Year’s concert in 2006