Valery Gergiev is Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Stars of the White Nights Festival (St Petersburg), the Moscow Easter Festival, the Gergiev Rotterdam Festival, the Mikkeli International Festival, and the Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel. His inspired leadership as Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1988 has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution. Born in Moscow, he studied conducting with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory, won the Herbert von Karajan Conductors’ Competition aged 24, and made his Mariinsky Opera debut one year later conducting Prokofiev’s War and Peace. In 2003 he led St Petersburg’s 300th anniversary celebrations, and opened the Carnegie Hall season with the Mariinsky Orchestra,the first Russian conductor to do so since Tchaikovsky conducted the Hall’s inaugural concert in 1891. Valery Gergiev’s many awards include a Grammy, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Golden Mask Award, People’s Artist of Russia Award, and France’s Royal Order of the Legion of Honour. His vast discography includes Russian operas, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky Symphonies, and numerous discs on the LSO Live and Mariinsky labels, including a Mahler Symphony cycle, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, Wagner’s Parsifal, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, and a disc of Debussy’s music.