Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky dies at 87


Gennady Rozhdestvensky. File photo


Rozhdestvensky conducted many of the world’s leading orchestras

Prominent Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky has died aged 87.

Born in Moscow into a well-known musical family, Rozhdestvensky made his debut by conducting a Tchaikovsky ballet at the Bolshoi, aged just 20.

He made his name by popularising music by composers who were all but banned by the Communist authorities in the USSR, including Poulenc and Hindemith.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but local media reports say he had heart problems.

In 1971, Rozhdestvensky brought his Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra to London to the BBC Proms.

He conducted the Soviet premiere in 1974 of the hitherto banned opera The Nose by Shostakovich.

In the late 1970s, he served three years as the principal conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

He did not believe in over-rehearsing, according to Gramophone magazine.

“The point of rehearsal is to put together the concert … not to give the concert,” it quoted him as saying.

Also a pianist and composer, Rozhdestvensky took charge of many of the world’s leading orchestras in his long career, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra for three years in the 1970s.