Russian conductor VALERY GERGIEV is artistic and general director of St. Petersburg Mariinsky Theatre and principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He was born in Moscow and first studied conducting with Ilya Musin at Leningrad Conservatory. As a student, he won the Herbert-von-Karajan conducting competition in Berlin. He regularly works with leading international orchestras and at foremost opera houses, eminent festivals and major concert halls. He has won many awards and distinctions, including the Russian, German, Italian, French, Japanese, Dutch and Polish orders of merit. Most recently, and in addition to his appointment at Mariinsky Theatre, he led orchestral productions including Salome in Tokyo, Iolanta and Bluebeard’s Castle at the Met, Tristan und Isolde in Barcelona, Pique Dame, Die Walküre, Der fliegende Holländer, Eugene Onegin and Les Troyens in Baden-Baden, Das Rheingold in Edinburgh, Adriana Lecouvreur at Verbier Festival, Das Rheingold in Paris. Current and future opera projects include Khovanshchina at Teatro alla Scala in Milan and Prince Igor at Royal Opera House Muscat.