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Kirill Kondrashin

Kirill Kondrashin was born into a musical family: both his parents were string players, with Koussevitzky’s orchestra and then that of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. He took piano lessons from the age of six, studied music theory with Nikolay Zhilyayev and went on to study conducting from 1932 to 1936 at the Moscow Conservatory, where he was a pupil of Boris Khaikin. Having already made his conducting debut at the Moscow Children’s Theatre in 1931, Kondrashin worked as assistant conductor at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre from 1934, making his debut there with the French operetta Les Cloches de Corneville by Planquette. When Khaikin was appointed chief conductor at the Maly Theatre in Leningrad, Kondrashin followed him and conducted there from 1936 to 1943; his repertoire was extensive and included Puccini’s La fanciulla del West as well as contemporary works such as Pashchenko’s Pompadour. He was awarded a diploma in 1938 at the First All-Union Conductors’ Competition for his skill and technique, a contemporary critic commenting positively on his ability to work productively with orchestras: ‘Eschewing wordiness, Kondrashin achieves understanding by precise gesture rather than oratory.’ Kondrashin moved to the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow as a conductor in 1943 and remained there until 1956, a period during which he benefitted from the experience of working with the leading conductors of the Bolshoi such as Samosud and Golovanov. In addition he



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