Yevgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov ; September 6, 1928 – May 3, 2002) was a Russian conductor, composer, and though less well-known, a pianist.
Svetlanov was born in Moscow and studied conducting at the Moscow Conservatory. From 1955 he conducted at the Bolshoi Theatre, being appointed principal conductor there in 1962. From 1965 he was principal conductor of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra (now the Russian State Symphony Orchestra). In 1979 he was appointed principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Svetlanov was also music director of the Residentie Orchestra (The Hague) from 1992 to 2000 and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 1999.
In 2000 Svetlanov was fired from his post with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra by the minister of culture of Russia, Mikhail Shvydkoi. The reason given was that Svetlanov was spending too much time conducting abroad and not enough time in Moscow.
Svetlanov was particularly noted for his interpretations of Russian works - he covered the whole range of Russian music, from Mikhail Glinka to the present day. He was also one of the few Russian conductors to conduct the entire symphonic output of Gustav Mahler.
His own compositions included a string quartet (1948), symphony (1956), Russian Variations for harp and orchestra (1975), and a piano concerto (1976) among other works.
Svetlanov was also an extremely fine pianist, two notable recordings being Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Trio No. 2 in D minor, and a disc of Nikolai Medtner's piano music.
Warner Music France has issued an 'Édition officielle Evgeny Svetlanov' featuring Svetlanov's legacy of recordings as conductor and pianist, which by July 2008 had run to 35 volumes of CDs, often multiple-CD boxed sets. The biggest of these is the 16-CD box of the complete symphonies of Nikolai Myaskovsky, to whose music Svetlanov was devoted.
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