Mariss Jansons described his appointment as the fifth honorary member of the Berliner Philharmoniker, which the Latvian conductor received in January 2018 shortly after his 75th birthday, as a “great joy and honour”. The regular, unusually intensive and mutually rewarding collaboration had begun 47 years earlier, after the young musician emerged as the winner of the conducting competition of the Berlin-based Herbert von Karajan Foundation.
Born into a family of musicians in Riga, Jansons spent the formative years of his training in St Petersburg and later continued his studies in the legendary class of Hans Swarowsky in Vienna. For more than 20 years, Jansons led the Oslo Philharmonic and following posts in London and Pittsburgh has been chief conductor of the chorus and symphony orchestra of Bayerischer Rundfunk. With this orchestra and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra which he directed between 2004 and 2015, he simultaneously led two top ensembles. Admired for his meticulous rehearsals and friendly attitude, Jansons’s numerous recordings include the 15 symphonies by Shostakovich and a cycle with his Munich ensemble which juxtaposed Beethoven’s symphonies with contemporary works.