Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons has been awarded one of music’s highest honours – the Royal Philharmonic Society Gold Medal. He is the 104th recipient since the medal was founded in 1870 in celebration of the centenary of Beethoven’s birth.
Previous recipients include Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Bernard Haitink, Antonio Pappano, Alfred Brendel, Simon Rattle, Thomas Quasthoff and András Schiff. Slightly older Gold Medallists include Brahms (1877), Elgar (1925), Stravinsky (1954) and Bernstein (1987).
Jansons studied under Hans Swarovsky and Herbert von Karajan, before becoming assistant to Yevgeny Mravinsky at the Leningrad Philharmonic. He has held the role of music director for both the Oslo Philharmonic and Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestras. He was appointed chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2003 – a position he still holds today.
‘Mariss Jansons is one of the greatest musicians of our day,’ remarks the RPS. ‘His conducting is a powerful combination of discipline and inspiration and his revelatory performances are innately truthful to the nuances of the score while filled with new discoveries and glimpses into the very heart of the music.’
Jansons will be presented with this award tomorrow evening at the Barbican Centre by the 2016 recipient, Mitsuko Uchida, following a concert by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. The performance will include a rendition of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No.4, with Yefim Bronfman as soloist.
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.