Rare royal honour for Russian conductor

The Queen has awarded an honorary CBE to Gennady Rozhdestvensky, 82, doyen of Russian music, in recognition of his services to the art and to international relations. Gennady was the first Soviet-era conductor to be made music director of western orchestras, among them the BBCSO.

But he never let himself be a tool of the regime and courageously performed such non-conformist voices as Alfred Schnittke, in defiance of the apparat. His best work was done in Russia, but his spells abroad made him many friends and won wider recognition for Russian music.

The award was presented in Moscow by HRH Princess Anne.


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  • Very nice. I don’t know about his personal qualities or politics- other than that he managed to survive under various regimes – but I saw him conduct a number of times in Moscow and he was always a very compelling conductor.

  • The greatest conductor in the world next to Celibidache. Really. The vastness of his repertoire, catholicity of taste, brilliant mind, deep feeling for all kinds of music, and his multifaceted and multilayered sense of humor make for an unique experience whenever he conducts. Long live Rozhdestvensky!!!!!!!

  • ====I had thought he was much older than he is.

    Those old films of him conducting Oistrakh made GR look an old geezer but really he was just in his 30s !

  • One of the greatest conductors with the ability to hear every individual on stage and respond, inspire and lead with the most flexible technique imaginable – and there is his absolutely pivotal role in twentieth century music championing the music of, for example, Britten and Schnittke. Fantastic that Rozhdestvensky is finally receiving the recognition her deserves from the UK!

  • Wonderful news. GR (or Noddy as I think he was affectionately known by members of the BBCSO) was – is – wonderful to watch with his unique conducting style, particularly his ability to suddenly transfer the baton to his other hand and then proceed to conduct with shoulder shrugs, eyebrows, smiles or simply by staying still and let the musicians perform. And a baton to match Boult’s in length. If only we could get him back to UK more regularly.

  • Indeed, one of the few genuinely great conductors in my experience . . . usually an enlivening interpreter, and a brilliant technique. Always musical, never showy just for the sake of being showy, altho’ capable of generating great excitement. I did not know he was still conducting; let’s hope he is able to continue !!

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