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Yevgeny Svetlanov

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Svetlanov in 1967

Yevgeny Fyodorovich Svetlanov (Russian: Евгéний Фёдорович Светлáнов; 6 September 1928 – 3 May 2002) was a Soviet and Russian conductor, composer and pianist.

Life and work[edit]

Svetlanov was born in Moscow and studied conducting with Aleksandr Gauk at the Moscow Conservatory. From 1955 he conducted at the Bolshoi Theatre, being appointed principal conductor there in 1962. From 1965 he was principal conductor of the USSR State Symphony Orchestra (now the Russian State Symphony Orchestra). In 1979 he was appointed principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Svetlanov was also music director of the Residentie Orchestra (The Hague) from 1992 to 2000 and the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1997 to 1999.

In 2000 Svetlanov was fired from his post with the Russian State Symphony Orchestra by the minister of culture of Russia, Mikhail Shvydkoi. The reason given was that Svetlanov was spending too much time conducting abroad and not enough time in Moscow.

Svetlanov was particularly noted for his interpretations of Russian works – he covered the whole range of Russian music, from Mikhail Glinka to the present day. He was also one of the few Russian conductors to conduct the entire symphonic output of Gustav Mahler.

His own compositions included a String Quartet (1948), Daugava, Symphonic Poem (1952), Siberian Fantasy for Orchestra, Op. 9 (1953), Images d'Espagne, Rhapsody for orchestra (1954), Symphony (1956), Festive Poem (1966),[1] Russian Variations for harp and orchestra (1975), Piano Concerto in c minor (1976) and Poem for Violin and Orchestra "To the Memory of David Oistrakh" (1975).[2] He composed Siberian Fantasy in 1953/54, in collaboration with Igor Yakushenko [1932-1999].

Svetlanov was also an extremely competent pianist, three notable recordings being Sergei Rachmaninoff's Piano Trio No. 2 in D minor[3] and Cello Sonata op. 19,[4] and a disc of Nikolai Medtner's piano music.

Warner Music France has issued an "Édition officielle Evgeny Svetlanov" featuring Svetlanov's legacy of recordings as conductor and pianist, which by July 2008 had run to 35 volumes of CDs, often multiple-CD boxed sets. The biggest of these is the 16-CD box of the complete symphonies of Nikolai Myaskovsky, to whose music Svetlanov was devoted.


The first Airbus A330 for Aeroflot, as well as asteroid 4135 Svetlanov, were named after Svetlanov.[5][6] The State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation and an international conducting competition also carry his name.[7]


  1. ^ Svetlanov's Festive overture on YouTube
  2. ^ van Rijen, Onno (2007-11-18). "Yevgeny Svetlanov: Internet Edition". Onno van Rijen's Shostakovich & Other Soviet Composers Page. Retrieved 2007-12-05.
  3. ^ Kogan, Luzanov and Svetlanov performing Rachmaninoff's Trio No. 2 on YouTube (2013-02-05). Retrieved on 2014-04-01.
  4. ^ Svetlanov and Luzanov performing Rachmaninoff's Cello sonata op. 19. Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved on 2014-04-01.
  5. ^ Авиакомпания "Аэрофлот" презентовала свой первый самолет Airbus А330-200. moyreys.ru. 11 December 2008
  6. ^ "VP-BLX Aeroflot - Russian Airlines Airbus A330-243". Planespotters. Thomas Noack. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  7. ^ Во Франции названы имена лауреатов конкурса дирижеров им. Светланова. izvestia.ru. 13 May 2010

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by Music Director, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow
Succeeded by
Preceded by Music Director, State Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Russian Federation
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chief Conductor, Het Residentie Orkest
Succeeded by
Preceded by Principal Conductor, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Succeeded by