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Gennady Rozhdestvensky (b1931)

Gennady Rozhdestvensky’s parents were both musicians of the highest calibre: his father was the conductor Nikolai Anosov, a major musician of the Soviet era, a fine pianist, and a composer who spoke ten languages; and his mother was the soprano Natalya Rozhdestvenskaya, a star of the Bolshoi Opera, whose name he adopted. He studied first at the Gnessin Institute of Music, and then at the Moscow Conservatory; here he was a piano pupil of Lev Oborin, and a conducting pupil of his own father. When Rozhdestvensky was twenty he made his public debut at the Bolshoi Theatre conducting Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, having already achieved distinction as the conductor of prizewinning student orchestras at international music competitions in Bucharest and Berlin. He served as a conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre between 1951 and 1961, assisting the distinguished conductor of the ballet company, Yuri Fayer; deputising for an ailing Samuel Samosud in an early performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10 in 1955; first visiting Great Britain with the Bolshoi’s ballet company in 1956; and, together with Alexander Melik-Pashayev, leading the first performances at the Bolshoi of Prokofiev’s opera War and Peace in 1959. During the 1960s he held two major posts in Russian musical life: between 1961 and 1974 he was chief conductor of the Moscow Radio Symphony Orchestra, also known as the All-Union Radio and Television Orchestra, and from 1964 to 1970 he was chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre. Major musical landmarks of this period included



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