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Mariss Jansons

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Mariss Jansons (born January 14, 1943) is a Latvian conductor, the son of conductor Arvīds Jansons. His mother, the singer Iraida Jansons, who was Jewish, gave birth to him in hiding in Riga, Latvia, after her father and brother were killed in the Riga ghetto. As a child, he first studied violin with his father.

In 1946, his father won second prize in a national competition and was chosen by Evgeny Mravinsky to be his assistant at the Leningrad Philharmonic. When his family joined him in 1956, young Jansons entered the Leningrad Conservatory, where he studied piano and conducting, although his father urged him to continue playing violin. In 1969 he continued his training in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky and in Salzburg with Herbert von Karajan. Karajan had invited Jansons to be his assistant with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, but the Soviet authorities blocked Jansons from ever hearing about the offer.

In 1973, Jansons was appointed Associate Conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra (now St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra). In 1979, he was appointed music director of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he performed, recorded and toured extensively. Jansons resigned his Oslo position in 2000 after disputes with the city over the acoustics of the Oslo Konserthus.

In 1992, Jansons was named principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has worked as a guest conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra and has recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 with them for the LSO Live label.

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