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Michail Jurowski was born in Moscow in 1945, the son of the composer Vladimir Jurowski and grandson of the conductor David Block. His sons Vladimir and Dmitri are also internationally renowned conductors. Michail Jurowski grew up in the circle of internationally acclaimed artists of the former Soviet Union such as D. Ojstrach, M. Rostropovitch, L. Kogan, E. Gilels, and A. Chatchaturjan. Dmitri Shostakovich was a close family friend, and he and Michail not only spoke often but would also play four-hand piano pieces together. Such experiences had a huge influence on the young musician, and it is therefore no coincidence that today Jurowski is one of the greatest interpreters of Shostakovich’s music. From 1978, Jurowski was regular guest conductor at the Komische Oper Berlin. In 1989 he left the USSR with his family, and was offered a permanent post with the Dresden Semperoper. Other titled positions have included: General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra, Chief Conductor of the Leipzig Opera and Chief Conductor of WDR Radio Symphony Orchestra in Cologne. He is currently the Principal Guest Conductor of the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria, a position he has held since 2003.

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Born in Moscow in 1945, Michail Jurowski is the son of the composer Wladimir Jurowski and grandson of the conductor David Block. His sons Vladimir and Dmitri are also internationally renowned conductors. Michail Jurowski grew up in the circle of internationally acclaimed artists of the former Soviet Union such as Ojstrach, Rostropovitch, Kogan, Gilels, and Chatchaturjan. Dmitri Shostakovich was a close family friend and he and Michail not only spoke often but would also play four-hand piano pieces together. Such experiences had a huge influence on the young musician and it is therefore no coincidence that today Michail Jurowski is one of the leading interpreters of Shostakovich’s music. In 2012 Michail Jurowski was awarded the third International Shostakovich Prize by the Shostakovich Gohrisch Foundation.

 

Michail Jurowski was educated at the Moscow Conservatoire, where he studied conducting under Leo Ginsburg and music science under Alexei Kandinsky. During his studies he assisted Gennady Rozhdestvensky at the National Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra of Moscow. While still a resident in Russia he conducted the Music Theatre of Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko in Moscow and during his last years in the Soviet Union frequently conducted performances at the Bolshoi Theatre.

 

From 1978 Michail Jurowski was regular guest conductor at the Komische Oper Berlin and in 1989 he left the USSR with his family and was offered a permanent post with the Dresden Semperoper. Other titled positions have included: General Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Northwest German Philharmonic Orchestra; Chief Conductor of Leipzig Opera; Chief Conductor of WDR Rundfunkorchester in Cologne; Principal Guest Conductor of the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria.

 

As a guest conductor Michail Jurowski has led the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Dresden Philharmonic, Staatskapelle Dresden, Oslo Philharmonic, Bergen Philharmonic, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porta Casa da Música,  São Paulo Symphony and Stavanger Symphony orchestras among others. In addition he works with the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra at least twice a year.

 

Recent Opera and Ballet highlights have included a hugely successful debut at Opera de Paris conducting Mussorgsky’s Khovantchina, Götterdämmerung in Dortmund, Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty at the Norske Opera in Oslo, Eugene Onegin at the Teatro Lirico in Cagliarias, as well as a new production of Respighi’s Marie Victoir, the revival of Un Ballo in Maschera at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, a very successful new production of Prokofiev’s The love of three oranges at the Grand Theatre in Geneva with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, critically acclaimed Glazunov’s Raymonda at La Scala, with the sets and costumes being replicated from M. Petipa’s original 1898 production in St. Petersburg, a new production of Romeo and Juliet at Zurich Opera and Prokofiev’s Fiery Angel at the Bolshoi Theatre, which marked his return to the Russian rostrum in 2012. His opera repertoire includes Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Weber, Wagner, Smetana, R. Strauss and Britten, as well as Russian composers Glinka, Dargomyzhsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Prokofiev and Shostakovich.

 

Michail Jurowski’s return to the Russian stage in 2012 generated much press interest, and he then went on to conduct two televised events organized by the Russian Ministry of Culture. He also went on tour with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia in Germany and at the Santander International Music Festival, and closed the season of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra in Moscow. This season he returns to the Bolshoi to conduct another run of Fiery Angel and will also lead the State Academic Symphony Orchestra in two different programmes at the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire and at Moscow’s International House of Music, as well as debuting with the St Petersburg Philharmonic.

 

The 13/14 season will see Michail Jurowski continue to work at the highest level, debuting with the London, Warsaw and St Petersburg philharmonic orchestras. He will also conduct the Dresden Staatskapelle at the International Shostakovich Festival in Gohrisch, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Lübeck Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic’s New Year’s concerts, the Tonkünstler Orchestra of Lower Austria, the Norwegian Opera Orchestra, Monte Carlo Philharmonic and the New Israeli Opera Orchestra, in addition to his regular guest conducting weeks at Norrköping and Stavanger symphony orchestras and a revival of the lauded Romeo and Juliet with the Zurich Opera.

 

Besides televised concerts and radio recordings in Stuttgart, Cologne, Dresden, Oslo, Norrköping, Hannover and Berlin, Jurowski has just recorded with L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and has conducted various CD recordings including film music, Shostakovich’s opera The Gamblers, Shostakovich’s entire vocal symphonic pieces, Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Christmas Eve, as well as orchestral pieces by Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Reznicek, Meyerbeer, Lehár, Kálmán, Nicolai, Rangström, Pettersen-Berger, Grieg, Svensen, Kantcheli and many others. This season will see the release of his latest CD on cpo, featuring orchestral works by his father, Wladimir Jurowski.

 

In 1992 and 1996 Jurowski won the German Record Critics' Prize and in 2001 he received a Grammy nomination for 3 CD productions of Orchestral Music by Rimsky-Korsakov with the RSB Orchestra.

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Reviews

"...The baton drives with relentless accuracy... but the soul of the music is never forgotten. Jurowski epitomises the synthesis of precision and lyricism."

Benedikt Leßmann, Leipziger Volkszeitung

"Michail Jurowski... was the mastermind behind the event, conducting the works with consummate skill and a commanding, bear-like presence. "

Chris Garlick, bachtrack

"★★★★★ One of the season’s most rewarding and unforgettable concerts."

Hilary Finch, The Times

"Jurowski senior definitely had the measure of the piece, holding together the complex mix of improvisation and notated passages. He and the orchestra, who were clearly enjoying themselves, never flinched from being lurid and brazen when needed, particularly in the riotous second movement."

Chris Garlick, Bachtrack

"How hard and tirelessly the LPO, brass especially, worked to terrorize and humour us. The theatrics of Jurowski senior may have been deadpan – hands in pockets when the baton wasn't needed – but you see where his son gets his absolutely clear and definitive beat from, every entry elegantly cued, and he shaped the multipart string slow movement towards a shattering climax and back."

David Nice, The Arts Desk

"Theatrical as much as musical certainly, but with an underlying purpose that, thanks to the guidance of Jurowski as Master of Ceremonies, was hardly in doubt."

Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source

"This wasn’t an easy programme by any means, and seemed to get more intense as it went on, but the audience sat in rapt attention throughout, and conversations during the interval seemed to be about little other than the music of the first half … For [Jurowski], context is all, and each of these allusions is given a sinister dimension through its placement in the narrative. The excellent orchestral playing helped him to make his point, the calculated precision of the woodwind ensembles, the dark colouring to each of the horn and trumpet solos."

Gavin Dixon, Seen and Heard International

"Three and a half thousand listeners and a great many onlookers got a real treat this evening. Under the direction of Michail Jurowski, this was a mostly Russian programme with works by Shostakovich, Mussorgsky, Alexander Arutunian, Oskar Bohme, Glinka and Tchaikovsky. Shostakovich’s frenzied second Jazz Waltz, in an arrangement by the conductor as an encore, left nothing more to be desired."

Dresden Morgenpost

"With Dmitri Shostakovich’s ‘Festive Overture Op.96’, one will have immediately noticed that this “picnic-concert” was in the hands of a custodian of Russian musical culture: Michail Jurowski. For many years a regular and welcomed guest of the Staatskapelle, at his musical family home he had many opportunities to personally meet the greatest Russian composer of the 20th century. The opening notes bubbled like vigorously shaken champagne on a balmy evening, enabling both the mood of the musicians and that of the audience to be transformed into something sparkling. ... [The programme closed] with a further Shostakovich - a world premiere! The famous Waltz No. 2 from the Suite for Variety Orchestra, had ... been arranged by Jurowski with the fitting orchestral voices to replace saxophone, guitar and accordion."

Michael Ernst, DNN

"Contrary to the evening’s title, the Staatskapelle provided a varied and sophisticated evening concert. Michail Jurowski, who had personally played piano duets with Shostakovich, stood in front of the orchestra: a conductor with a Russian soul. His severity helped him understand and feel the music. For example, in Mussorgsky’s "Night on the Bald Mountain” the contours of the Glass Factory were anything but bare. ... Even though the soft sound of the Staatskapelle lost some of its warmth through the open air and over the speakers, Jurowski brought the orchestra together with all of its wild capering, simply by lightly swinging his baton, bringing the spark of fascination to the audience."

David Buschmann, Sachsische Zeitung

"The mysterious chemistry between orchestra and conductor created a concert that was very special indeed - an extraordinary event which nearly has me running out of superlatives. Michail Jurowski presided over an all-Russian programme that we could have quite easily been hearing for the first time, so vividly expressed was the Moscow-born conductor's attention to instrumental colour and phrasing. Mussorgsky's Night on a Bare Mountain dripped with an atmosphere of the supernatural as Jurowski moulded the phrases and balanced stupendous climaxes with the softest pianissimos. ... After the interval, Jurowski's expressive baton carved out an electrifying interpretation of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony. The dramatic impact of the final movement was delivered at a thrilling pace and with devastating force. Incandescent brass climaxes and the weight of the Orchestra of Opera North's opulent string section, built on eight double basses and ten cellos, set the seal on a performance that will surely be talked about for years to come. The prolonged roar of applause from an elated Leeds Town Hall audience spoke volumes."

Geoffrey Mogridge, Ilkley Gazette and Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer

"The fourth movement is like a symphony within a symphony. It poses especially big problems for the conductor in terms of the incarnation of the form, its unity with the symphony as a whole. The conductor succeeded in this; he created a tragic musical canvas. One has to pay tribute to Jurowski’s impeccable taste: he never passed the boundaries between tragedy and emotional constriction. In fact it could be said that Mahler provokes the conductor to do this, especially in the Scherzo which goes somewhat beyond the bounds of high tragedy into the world of the more earthly human passion. The conductor managed to avoid these temptations."

Vladimir Oivin, Classica.fm

"Michail Jurowski fills this symphonic tragedy with wonderfully well-placed accents, “cries” if pain and “fits” of tenderness; and in this seemingly difficult to combine conglomerate of colours and sonorities, subtle nuances and powerful orchestral tutti, Music with a capital M is born - genuine, sincere, psychologically addictive, calling one to follow it into the abyss of Mahler’s “recklessness”, so beautiful and amazing."

Igor Koryabin, Belcanto.ru

"It has been a long time since we have had occasion to hear such an inspirational concert. … Jurowski-father worked brilliantly with his son’s orchestra. [In Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto] when in the first movement the orchestra performs the main theme I literally went numb. … [Mahler’s 6th Symphony] followed after the intermission … and Jurowski overcame it with ease – although “overcame” is not the right word as no stress or pressure was apparent, and the sharp, at times marching, rhythms of the First Movement, the harmonies of the Second, and the tragic passions of the Finale – all flowed in the most natural way."

Arlekin, Livejournal.com

"A musician of encyclopaedic knowledge, [Michail Jurowski] is equally successful at realising his talent in symphonic conducting as well as within music theatre."

Orpheus, Muzcentrum.ru

"Paris received the production with enthusiasm: there is no superlative that was not used by the French critics in their reviews. Especially they stressed the successful debut of Michail Jurowski on the Paris stage. Mussorgsky’s “fearful and exquisite” opera (according to a journalist from Le Monde) has now even eclipsed Boris Godunov in Paris."

Ekaterina Bogopolskaya, Vedomosti

"The patriarch of the Russian conducting dynasty Michail Jurowski conducted the production. He managed to find solutions for two complex issues: on the one hand to find such a tempo-rhythm as to make sure it never felt drawn-out or boring; the performance flowed on one breath, and one wanted it to go on (although usually in Khovantchina there is a danger of listener fatigue), and on the other hand he always held the perfect balance between the orchestra, soloists and chorus. You can tell that Michail Vladimirovich really likes Shostakovich’s edition, as all the beauty and timbre surprises within the orchestral colours were distressed and presented. Jurowski is a true master, who pays a lot of attention to bringing Russian music to the world, and feels it is one of his main creative goals."

Elena Ganchikova, Belcanto.ru

"Michail Jurowski is a master of rhythms and tempo, distilling them allong with silences of the utmost drama."

Russie.net

"Throughout the evening, in the pit, the musicians undertook to express the full blown epic as the aspirations of the unfulfilled soul."

Classiquenews.com

"We were amenable, because the real thread is provided by a refined orchestral timbre and subtle nuances, brought to us by a simply magisterial Michail Jurowski: every moment is woven into an immense glistening fabric."

L’ceil et l’oreille, Blog.qobuz.com

"In the pit, Michail Jurowski draws out all the grandeur of the work with an assurance… from which the musicians of the Opera derive the greatest benefit. One would especially appreciate the stylistic accuracy of the Prelude and the concluding scene where the drive of the expressive power continues."

Michail Le Naour, Concertclassic.com

"Finally, we will anticipate to listen to the conductor Michail Jurowski, who was warmly applauded by the musicians of the Opera orchestra (this is quite rare). This shows how this son of an esteemed composer (and father of two conductors) is the best candidate to truly make the orchestration of the great composer of Symphony of Leningrad shine."

Christine Ducq, La revue du Spectacle

"Michail Jurowski conducts the massive score with a certain authority… maintaining the balance of forces and the intensity of the work during the three and half hours of the production."

Resmusica.com

"Michail Jurowski led the pit in the revised version by Dimitri Shostakovich. In great detail, his interpretation revealed many details and writing for the woodwinds in particular, also their rapport unfolds gloriously, so to speak."

Anacla

"Michail Jurowsky, for his part, knows his stuff, a real pro whom orchestra take pleasure in following in Shostakovich very controlled and never abrasive version."

Didier van Moere, Concertonet.com

"Michail Jurowski, a Shostakovich specialist, making a belated debut at the Paris opera, provides a firm, atmospheric reading of the score."

Jorg von Uthmann, Bloomberg.com

"Michail Jurowski, who is evidently well-versed with Prokofiev’s works… let Zürich Philharmonic thunder rhythmically, sing in tender melodic lines and clearly demonstrate the many colours from the instruments"

Torbjörn Bergflödt, Südkurier

"It would be great if a recording of Michail Jurowski’s and Philharmonia Zürich’s version of Prokofiev’s music would be released… on CD."

Wiebke Hüster, dradio.de

"Michail Jurowski with Zürich Philharmonic performed the most imaginably intense rendition of Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet music. Such exciting, harsh, meaningful music has hardly ever been heard before… the music shines like a patiently restored sound-tableau."

Wiebke Hüster, F.A.Z.

"The conductor Michail Jurowski worked with Zürich Philharmonic Orchestra, drawing out contrasts within the structure of Prokofiev’s score and the music’s melodic and lyrical qualities. The modernity of the score and its finely organized structure was shown off with liquid tempi... One discovered unfamiliar sounds and noise-like effects in a seemingly familiar piece. "

Martina Wohlthat, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

"...a masterpiece was created."

Joel Kasow, Fanfare Magazine

"For the first time in the history of the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra, the distinguished Maestro, one of the most experienced and world-renowned conductors of our time, Michail Jurowski took to the rostrum. … The warm, enthusiastic reception given to the Maestro at the end of the concert turned into a such a sincere and heart-felt standing ovation, the kind of which, to be honest, I do not remember being given to a conductor in a very long time … Under the sweep of Michail Jurowski’s baton carefully thought-out orchestral gestures, full of expressive simplicity and at the same time punctuated by refinement, impacted the ear and the soul in an extraordinarily bright, fresh and passionate way, with true Russian generosity. However the orchestral texture of the interpretations on offer was without a shadow of a doubt woven to a European blueprint: the very quality of orchestral sound gave sheer pleasure! … Michail Jurowski … has an inherent gift of “non-verbal conductor communication” sent from above."

Igor Koryabin, Belcanto.ru

"Michail Jurowski is an absolute talent! His conducting manner is incredibly simple, without excessive pomposity and showing off. Under his leadership the orchestra plays as a whole, while at the same time every note is audible. Something similar I have only heard in Vienna. It’s just a pity that Michail Jurowski does not live in Russia and only rarely appears here."

gamajun82, Livejournal

"Franz Schubert's long unfinished B minor symphony felt anything but incomplete in Jurowski’s twist. No sense of resistance from the orchestra, which became a pliable self-playing tool in the master's hands. Soft padding strings, woodwinds, kindness and heartfelt glow of the rich melodic material that the young Franz Schubert created. "

Siv Jogfors, Folkbladet

"…I came to the conclusion that Bolshoi’s attempt at this revival became a Big Event for one simple reason. This was because the role of music director of the revival on this occasion was given to Michail Jurowski, one of the most prominent representatives of the Russian conducting school, a Maestro of great international reputation, an artist highly sensitive to the Stage, a truly thoughtful musician and philosopher-interpreter… This determined that His Majesty and his orchestra, as if soaring above the orchestra pit, became the full-weight "scenic framework" which bore the weight of the whole of this not musically-light production. […] The musical texture of Michail Jurowski’s orchestra was revived as even more subtle, more refined: the listening experience was so emotionally and intellectually contemplative and multifaceted that the fabric of the opera texture seemed to be soft and tender to the touch, and in itself it seemed aglow with silky modulations."

Igor Koryabin, Belcanto.ru

"All this absurdity falls into place meaningfully partly due to the wonderful stage direction, but also if it has any coherence and meaning for a modern audience, it’s down to Prokofiev’s playful, richly brilliant scoring. It’s impossible not to be fully drawn into the proceedings with so much to enjoy from moment to moment, particularly since the score was given a superb, vivacious performance by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande under the baton of Michail Jurowski. Whether you actually cared for the characters never mattered – they sang no wonderful arias to persuade you of their charm or depth of soul – but the singing and acting here were of a fine standard nonetheless to keep the audience enthralled, entertained and, in this production, educated even in the finer points of mid-eighteenth century Italian theatre."

Opera Journal.com

"The Russian master Michail Jurowski (father of Vladimir) returned to conduct an Orchestre de la Suisse Romande that was on dazzling form. Prokofiev’s harsh and corrosive instrumentation, culminating in the famous March and Scherzo of Act III, are perfectly executed by a phalanx whose brass section are infallible and whose strings play with a biting intensity. The Choir of the Grand-Théâtre, as usual, is worthy of the most lively praise. In short, a perfectly executed end of season!"

Emmanuel Andrieu, ClassiqueInfo.com

"Arguably the star of the evening was conductor Michail Jurowski. Never have I heard such fire in this score tempered by such nuance. Maestro Jurowski not only had all the angular, rhythmic flash and dazzle abundantly in place, but he also lovingly inspired contrasting moments of transparency, tenderness, and mellow rumination. This was as deeply felt, stylistically impeccable, personalized and persuasive a reading as you might be lucky enough to encounter once every ten years."

James Sohre, Opera Today

"Conducted with enthusiasm and generosity by Michail Jurowski… a precise and dynamic conductor who brings out all the mischief in the score and the abounding orchestration…"

Bruno Serrou, La Croix

"How could you not delight in an OSR so opulent, incisive and completely in its element in Prokofiev's abundant score, lead by Michail Jurowski, with a consummate art of contrast and shape?"

Sylvie Bonier, Tribune de Genève

"At the head of the Suisse Romande Orchestra, the Russian master Michail Jurowski excels in following the changeable inflexions of this deliciously capricious music. He meets the challenge of energizing the discourse throughout, at the same time as paying scruIt would be great if a recording of Michail Jurowski’s and Philharmonia Zürich’s version of Prokofiev’s music would be released… on CD.pulous attention to every detail of the score and watching attentively over sound equilibrium."

Christophe Imperiali, Le Courrier

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Discography