St Petersburg conductor is found dead at 44, a note beside him

St Petersburg conductor is found dead at 44, a note beside him


norman lebrecht

May 16, 2016 reports the death of Sviatoslav Luther, former principal conductor of the State Symphony of St Petersburg.

There are conflicting reports as to the cause of death. A note said: ‘For my death I wish no-one to be blamed.’

He leaves a young daughter, whom he was raising as a lone parent. She was with his mother at the time.

A member of a well-known musical family, Luther studied with Ilya Musin, was an assistant to Valery Gergiev and founded a training orchestra for students.

He was artistic director of St.Petersburg’s Rachmaninov Society.

Eternal rest.

svyatosav luter-217x325


  • Sue says:

    This is just absolutely awful. Ghastly.

    • la crotteur says:

      He tries to conduct between the beats….its too bad he will not go further with his art!! Rest in Peace

      • Ana-Maria Avram says:

        Nonsense! Who are you to judge? apparently not a professional and not a connoisseur, just a “musicologist”. And professionals we all know, musicologists are all idiots. How dare you?

        He seems to have been a really good conductor, with elegant and precise gesture, capable to hold the music in his hands, as we use to say.

        • Steven Holloway says:

          Could anyone sort this out? I assumed that Sue was commenting on the death — not unreasonable of me. Le Crotteur thinks she comments on the Berlioz performance, and observes that Luther conducts between the beats. This is usually considered a fault, but Le Crotteur regrets he will not now go further with his art, so…good or bad? This gets him vitriol from Ana-Maria who, peculiarly, ‘accuses’ him of being a musicologist! More like a conductor or orchestral musician, I should have thought. In any case, conducting between the beats is usually a matter of try to influence the rhythm, a practice damned by the likes of Monteux and Koussevitsky, but not universally so. A very different view is expressed in Max Rudolf’s Grammar of Conducting. At any rate, I think there may be misunderstanding among those first three comments. I’m just hoping Ana-Maria is not another Milka!!

  • Sasha says:

    The article says he was a student of Ravil Martynov, who was a famous conductor and teacher of his own right. Luther’s website says he went to master classes of Ilya Musin and Yuri Simonov, but I think we should give the (posthumous) credit to where it belongs and that is to Martynov. There are so many great pedagogues in Russia, that it is a pity only Musin ever gets a mention, and I say this despite the fact that my conducting comes largely from his tradition. Sad news in any case, at 44 a conductor still has his best years far ahead of him!

    • Marina Arshinova says:

      Exactly. Sviatoslav Luther studied with Ravil Martynov along with Vassily Petrenko, principal conductor of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.

  • Vengerov Maxim says:

    Huge loss! Wonderful conducting, very expressive, and had even huge potential. He was still a young man. What a great loss. The world must still learn about what is great conducting. I’m very sad for Maestro’s passing! My prayers for him and his family!

  • Saul Davis Zlatkovski says:

    He was a friend of mine, I had no idea about this. His father is the conductor, Robert Luther, who has been Music Director at the Opera in Ufa, and of the National Philharmonic of Moldova. He went by Slava, and as far as I know, was perhaps boxed in career-wise, not able to make the progress in positions he deserved. He conducted in San Luis Potosi in Mexico, I know, and wanted to conduct in the USA so his daughter could live here. He was a lovely person, with a scintillating quality. I got to know him when he auditioned for the Curtis Institute of Music, even though he was already fully trained. Still, they didn’t accept him, which was very disappointing for him. He needed the advantage. I am very sad about this. Fine musicians have such a difficult time living in this world, I hope he has fulfillment in the next, and will do better next time around.

  • Saul Davis Zlatkovski says:

    Sviatoslav Luther (Conductor)

    Conductor of the Musical Theatre of Karelia, the Baltic Symphony Orchestra conductor, musical director chamber orchestra Singolo orchestra. Since 1998, Sviatoslav Luther is the conductor of the State Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg.

    Born into a family of musicians in St. Petersburg. He studied in the Choir School at the State Academic Capella. Glinka. In the St. Petersburg State Conservatory of Rimsky-Korsakov taught choral conducting classes in V.Nesterova, N.Korneva and symphony conducting the classes V.Fedotova, R.Martynova. Later on numerous occasions in the conductor’s art workshops Zubin Mehta, Franco Mannino, Yuri Simonov.

    Conductors experience received during his training in the Choir School, speaking with the renowned choir boys. In the conservatory years worked with the choir, directed the choir of German music in the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Chorus master and assistant conductor worked worked in the theater chamber opera “The St. Petersburg Chamber Opera”, taught conducting and was choirmaster at the St. Petersburg Academy of Culture. Under his leadership, a large number of concerts and loan cycles in St. Petersburg and beyond. For the first time in the Assembly Hall of the St. Petersburg State University for one year play all nine Beethoven symphonies. In 2004, at the initiative of Sviatoslav Luther in St. Petersburg was organized program “Student Philharmonic” – free concerts for the students of the city.

    He performs regularly with various orchestras and choirs of St. Petersburg, has been active theatrical activity, is involved in most of Petersburg festivals. Implemented a number of premiere performances and recordings (“Count Nulin” B.Sinkin, «La Devozione Alla Croce» L. Ivanova, “Christmas Tree” V.Rebikov). At the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg State Philharmonic presents such major programs as Verdi’s Requiem, “Stars Bel Canto” with soloists from La Scala Theatre. Under the leadership of Sviatoslav Luther was staged opera Rachmaninoff “Francesca da Rimini.”

    He has toured with various orchestras in Russia, Italy, USA, Mexico. Participated in the organization at Orso III International Festival Symphony Orchestra (Moscow, 2008). He took part in the festival “Martishore” (Moldova) «Bangkok’s International Festival of Dance & Music» and «Russian Romantic» (Thailand) «Morristown festival» (U.S.), XI International Festival. Mravinsky (Estonia), and other creative and productive was to work with other conductors (F.Mannino, R.Peydzh, Ya.Kovach, K.Ponti), leading opera soloists and instrumentalists known (Jose Carreras, Elena Obraztsova, Zlata Bulycheva, Basil Gerello, Anna Netrebko, Alexander Slobodyanik).

  • Saul Davis Zlatkovski says:

    Died Petersburg conductor Sviatoslav Luther wanted to work in theatre


    In St. Petersburg died tragically conductor-Sviatoslav Luther. He was found hanging in a rope. Close friends of the conductor refuse to believe in the voluntariness of his departure from life. The conductor left a daughter, whom he raised alone.

    Sviatoslav Luther. Photo from social networks

    Conductor St. Petersburg state Symphony orchestra, Sviatoslav Luther was lost sight of in the evening on Friday the 13th. That day he, according to friends, left her daughter at the grandmother and did not appear and did not respond to calls. “I still remember he called me on Friday afternoon, at 14:15, – told “MK” a friend of the conductor for the Conservatory’s Love Gribkova. – Then, in the evening, about 18:30, I tried to call back, but he didn’t answer the phone. Don’t know what could happen, this is very unlike the Glory.”

    But investigators are categorical: “he was found hanging in a rope – said “MK” in the UK. – The apartment was locked from the inside. Accordingly, we have only one version.” The investigator also noted that the search for 45-year-old conductor began his father, world-renowned conductor Robert Luther, who worked at the Vienna state Opera and the Mariinsky theatre.

    Friends recall that Sviatoslav Luther really wanted to work in the theater, but it will not take – “the system did not accept him.” “It was a very talented man, we just worked together on the same project,” continues Love Gribkova. – A hack was not engaged, as do many in our midst. He was an aesthete, and could only live among beauty. But at the same time – a simple guy, and he built himself a cottage, and a repair could do.” The conductor had the most to farm and to raise a daughter – with his wife they divorced immediately after the birth of a child, the conductor was left a single parent. With the father of the deceased had a complicated relationship – as is often the case in conducting dynasties. Therefore, in the opinion of the friends of the deceased it is strange that a statement the police asked the father.

    The last time Svyatoslav went to all the theatres, offered their projects, wrote to the Ministry of culture. But no it has not brought results. According to the SC, the conductor found in the house at Bolshaya Konyushennaya. He rented an apartment on the last floor because lubitel very historical centre of Saint – Petersburg.

    Sviatoslav Luther was one of the authors of the project “youth Philharmonia”, in addition, he regularly gave young bands the chance to play for the Petersburg public. “Life pushed me with Sviatoslav R. Luther in context, during the festival in the student Philharmonic,” says Anastasia, who worked in the orchestra under the direction of the deceased. – It was a very bright man. I hope that his colleagues will continue his work”.

    “I have known him for over 30 years,” shared another friend of musician Dmitry Ralko. – We’ve worked together, now he just had to conduct a concert. You know, it’s hard to talk in the past tense. Very talented and brilliant conductor and musician, who loved his family. Perhaps it was an accident”.