Music Director of the EUYO

"I absolutely love working with this orchestra – they are young and vibrant and enthusiastic, but at the same time entirely professional. Taking the rostrum with the EUYO is a very rewarding experience"
Maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy

Vladimir Ashkenazy has often been quoted as saying that for him music is indivisible. This conviction is borne out by his passionate engagement with so many different aspects of music-making, whether as conductor, piano recitalist or chamber musician or as the architect of large-scale projects encompassing the full range of musical activities.

The first part of his long life as a musician was devoted to the piano. Building on the foundation of his studies at the Central School of Music and Moscow Conservatoire and his success in winning second prize at the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1955 and first prizes in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 1956 and the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in 1962, he spent three decades touring the great musical centres of the world, performing an ever-growing repertoire in recitals and concerts and appearing with chamber music partners such as Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, Lynn Harrell, Elisabeth Soederstroem, Barbara Bonney and Matthias Goerne. During this time he built up one of the largest and most comprehensive recording catalogues of our day, encompassing almost all the major works of the piano repertoire.

From the 1970s Ashkenazy became increasingly active as a conductor, making guest appearances with some of the world's finest orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Philadelphia and Concertgebouw Orchestras. He has held positions over the years with the Philharmonia Orchestra (Principal Guest Conductor), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (Music Director), Cleveland Orchestra (Principal Guest Conductor) and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (Chief Conductor and Music Director). From 1998 to 2003 he held the position of Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he undertook a broad range of tours, recordings and special projects including a major Prokofiev Shostakovich series in Cologne, New York and Vienna in spring 2003.

Vladimir Ashkenazy took up the position of Music Director of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in September 2004. He undertook a short tour of Europe with the orchestra in July 2004, and future plans include tours of Europe in October 2005 and of the USA in autumn 2006, along with plans to record works by Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.

His continuing close relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra, of which he is now Conductor Laureate, has resulted in a number of high profile projects in London and abroad, including a threeconcert Rachmaninoff Festival at Lincoln Center in New York, a tour of Moscow and Japan in Autumn 2002, and in Spring 2003 a four-concert series at the South Bank marking the 50 th anniversary of Prokofiev’s death, exploring the relationship between the music of both Prokofiev and Shostakovich and communist dictatorship. 2003 saw them on the road again with a major tour including Australia, Taiwan and Singapore.

Ashkenazy also holds the position of Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.

Vladimir Ashkenazy also continues to perform as pianist throughout Europe, Asia and America and to add to his recording catalogue with major releases such as the critically-acclaimed complete Shostakovich Preludes & Fugues, winner of the 1999 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (without orchestra). His most recent recording of Shostakovich piano works, which includes Second Sonata, has been nominated for a Grammy Award in the same category.

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