The Mariinsky Theatre Trust is grateful to BP for its nine-year support of the Mariinsky UK touring programme. This partnership builds on the strong relationship already established between BP Russia and the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and forms part of BP's cultural programme in the UK.

Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev is Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Principal Conductor of the World Orchestra for Peace, Chairman of the Organising Committee of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival and Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the St Petersburg State University.

Valery Gergiev graduated from the Leningrad State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire in symphonic conducting under Professor Ilya Musin. At the age of 23 he won the Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in Berlin and, while still a student at the Conservatoire, was invited to join the Kirov Theatre (now the Mariinsky). At the age of 35 in 1988, Valery Gergiev was appointed Artistic Director of the Opera Company and since 1996 he has been Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre (Mariinsky Ballet, Opera and Orchestra ensembles).

In 2006 Valery Gergiev opened the Mariinsky Concert Hall, created on the site of workshops that had been destroyed by fire in 2003. The new Mariinsky Theatre (Mariinsky II) is scheduled to open in spring 2013, and will be one of the largest opera and ballet facilities in the world. From that time the Mariinsky companies will present performances in all three Mariinsky venues.

Valery Gergiev has established and directs such international festivals as the Stars of the White Nights festival (St Petersburg), the Moscow Easter Festival, the Mikkeli Music Festival (Finland) and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival (the Netherlands).

Valery Gergiev has presented numerous composer cycles including Berlioz, Brahms, Dutilleux, Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky in New York, London, Paris and other international cities. With the Mariinsky he has introduced audiences around the world to a number of rarely performed Russian operas, including works by Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev and Mussorgsky. Valery Gergiev also champions operatic works by contemporary Russian composers such as Shchedrin, Tishchenko, Gubaidulina, Raskatov and Smelkov.

In 2003 Valery Gergiev staged Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen at the Mariinsky Theatre sung, for the first time in Russian history, in the original German. The Western European premiere of the Mariinsky Ring took place in Germany, followed by further cycles in Moscow, South Korea, Japan, USA, Great Britain and Spain.

In addition to hosting symphonic concerts and opera and ballet performances, the Mariinsky Concert Hall, with its outstanding acoustics, is used as the venue for recordings of works on the Mariinsky label, launched by Valery Gergiev in 2009. Recent releases include piano concertos with Daniil Trifonov and Denis Matsuev, Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Shchedrin’s Enchanted Wanderer, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Wagner’s Parsifal, Shostakovich’s Symphony No.7 ‘Leningrad‘ and Balanchine’s Jewels on DVD and blu-ray. Current projects include recording the complete Ring cycle and all 15 of Shostakovich’s symphonies. Das Rheingold and Die Walküre are to be released early in 2013.

Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2007, Valery Gergiev performs with the LSO at the Barbican, the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival, as well as on extensive tours of Europe, North America and Asia. He also collaborates with the Metropolitan Opera, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the orchestra of La Scala, Milan and the New York, Munich and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestras. In 2013 Gergiev will become head of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, created on the initiative of Carnegie Hall in New York. Working with young musicians is an important part of the Valery Gergiev’s activities, and he has collaborated with youth orchestras of the Schleswig-Holstein Festival, the Verbier Festival and the Pacific Music Festival Sapporo. In 2012 an eighty-strong children’s chorus was specially created in Wales to perform Mahler’s 8th Symphony ‘Symphony of a Thousand‘ with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky in both St Petersburg and Cardiff.

Valery Gergiev’s many awards include the title of People’s Artist of Russia, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Polar Music Prize, Netherland’s Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Japan’s Order of the Rising Sun and the French Order of the Légion d’honneur.