Renowned Latvian-born conductor Mariss Jansons has died aged 76 after suffering from a long-term heart condition.
Born in Riga, Latvia, on 14 January 1943, he was the son of distinguished conductor Arvid Jansons and his wife Erhaida – the singer Iraida Jansons. In 1956, the family moved to St Petersburg, where Jansons studied violin, piano and conducting at the city’s conservatory.
Jansons was chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, a post he’d held since 2003. During his lifetime, he was often cited as one of the world’s top conductors, having led some of the most-renowned orchestras, including the Oslo Philharmonic and the London Philharmonic. He twice conducted the Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Concert and also performed at the BBC Proms.
He had been suffering from heart disease for many years and had cancelled several concert appearances this year as a result. In October 2019, after a six-month hiatus, he returned to the podium with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Jansons is survived by his second wife, Irina, whom he married in 1967, and by his daughter, Ilona, a pianist, from his first marriage.
Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons passed away at his St Petersburg home on 20 November (Franz Johann Morgenbesser, via Wikimedia Commons).