The Bayerische Staatsoper mourns the death of conductor Mikhail Jurowski on 19 March 2022 at the age of 76.
With his work, Jurowski enriched the world of opera and concert in an unmeasurable manner over more than six decaes. Born in Moscow in 1945 as the son of a composer, for a long time he himself was the centre of a family of musicians: His daughter is a pianist, his two sons are conductors like him; the elder, Vladimir Jurowski, is General Music Director of the Bayerische Staatsoper since this season 2021-22.
Mikhail Jurowski still played piano four-hands with Dmitri Shostakovich as a child. After studying musicology and conducting, he assisted Gennady Roschdestwenski and soon conducted himself at various theatres such as the Bolshoi Theatre and the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre in Moscow. He was not always employed according to his talents, not least because of anti-Semitic tendencies in the Soviet Union of the time. He still stroke musical sparks from supposedly less attractive tasks and soon became highly regarded internationally for conducting inter alia operetta and ballet performances. Since 1978, long before the fall of the Iron Curtain, he worked as a permanent guest conductor at the Komische Oper Berlin. In 1990, with his family he moved to Germany. Starting the very year, he became a constant guest conductor at many German and European opera houses and concert orchestras (such as the Semperoper Dresden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Frankfurt Opera, the Tetro alla Scala in Milan, the Opéra national de Paris, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic). He also held leading positions several times at, amongst others, the Leipzig Opera and the WDR Radio Orchestra. His encyclopaedic knowledge and philological flair were mirrored in his concert programmes and recording projects. The number of first recordings he has conducted is legion - including compositions and entire series of works by Giacomo Meyerbeer, Franz Lehár, Franz von Suppè, Ottorino Respighi, Ture Rangström, Wilhelm Peterson-Berger, Berthold Goldschmidt, Aram Khachaturian and Sergei S. Prokofiev. His commitment to the epoch-making film scores of Dmitri D. Shostakovich was particularly emphatic. He was also instrumental in founding and establishing the International Shostakovich Days in Gohrisch. A biography published in 2015 documented his many encounters with great artists and underlines his irresistible gift for storytelling.
Michail Jurowski made his debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper in the 2016-17 season with a series of performances of The Fiery Angel. In April, he would have conducted the Fifth Academy Concert at the Nationaltheater, featuring works by Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky and Sergei S. Prokofiev - composers who were particularly close to him.
Only a few days ago, he had to cancel his participation in this concert for health reasons. Now, even sooner than expected, death has taken the baton from his hand forever.
We will miss him very much and bow down to a great musical lifetime achievement.