The Russian conductor Alexander Vedernikov has died

Friday, October 30, 2020

Born January 11, 1964; died October 29, 2020

Alexander Vedernikov, who has died at 56 (photo: Marco Borggreve)
Alexander Vedernikov, who has died at 56 (photo: Marco Borggreve)

The conductor Alexander Vedernikov has died as the result of Covid-19; he was 56. At the time of death he was Chief Conductor of the Royal Danish Opera and Musical Director of St Petersburg's Mikhailovsky Theatre. He was the son of the bass, also Alexander (a celebrated Boris Godunov) and Natalia Gureyeva, a professor of organ at the Moscow Conservatory. 

He studied at the Moscow Conservatory and, from 1988 to '90, he worked at Moscow’s Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theatre. From 1988-95, he was assistant to the Chief Conductor and second conductor of the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra (formerly Gosteleradio’s Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra), and in 1995, he founded the Russian Philharmonia Symphony Orchestra and was Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of this orchestra until 2004.

From 2001 to 2009 he was Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre, a tenure that is hailed for its renewing of the Bolshoi Theatre’s long reputation for artistic excellence. From 2009 to 2018 he was Chief Conductor of Denmark's Odense Symphony Orchestra.

A much sought-after guest conductor he worked with many of the world's major orchestras and in the leading operas houses. In 2018, he conducted the BBC SO in the world premiere of Joby Talbot's guitar concerto, Ink Dark Moon with Miloš as soloist.

On record he can be heard in two recordings of Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto (partnering Dong Hyek Lim with the BBC SO for Warner Classics, and Alexandre Tharaud with the RLPO for Erato). He also conducts the Bolshoi company in the much-talked-about production by Dmitri Tcherniakov of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin (Bel Air Classiques). He also conducts the Odense SO in the Cedille recording of Tchaikovsky's complete concertante works for violin with Jennifer Koh.

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