Vladimir Ashkenazy
Conductor / Piano

One of the most revered musicians of our time, with a career spanning over fifty years of music-making both at the keyboard and in front of the orchestra.

Contacts

Jasper Parrott +44 (0)20 7229 9166
Federico Hernandez +44 (0)20 3725 9184
Nadja Saborova +49 (0)89 6797 104 82

Biography

Conductor Laureate: Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor Laureate: NHK Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Laureate: Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana

 

Conducting has formed the largest part of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s activities for the past 30 years. As Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, he led them on a major tour of Latin America in September 2014. He also holds the same positions with the Iceland Symphony and NHK Symphony orchestra. From 2000-2015 he was Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra; and from 2009-2013 he was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has collaborated on a number of significant recording projects and major international tours. He maintains strong links with major orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and makes guest appearances with leading ensembles all over the world.

Ashkenazy maintains his devotion to the piano, these days mostly in the recording studio, where he continues to build his extraordinarily comprehensive recording catalogue. Spring 2013 saw the release of ‘Ashkenazy: 50 Years on Decca’ - a 50-CD box-set celebrating Ashkenazy’s long standing relationship with Decca Classics. In 2014, Decca also released a milestone collection of Ashkenazy’s vast catalogue of Rachmaninov’s piano music, which also includes all of his recordings as a conductor of the composer’s orchestral music.

Conductor Laureate: Philharmonia Orchestra
Conductor Laureate: NHK Symphony Orchestra
Conductor Laureate: Iceland Symphony Orchestra
Principal Guest Conductor: Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana

 

Conducting has formed the largest part of Vladimir Ashkenazy’s activities for the past 30 years. As Conductor Laureate of the Philharmonia Orchestra, he led them on a major tour of Latin America in September 2014. He also holds the same positions with the Iceland Symphony and NHK Symphony orchestra. From 2000-2015 he was Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra; and from 2009-2013 he was Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, with whom he has collaborated on a number of significant recording projects and major international tours. He maintains strong links with major orchestras including The Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and makes guest appearances with leading ensembles all over the world.

Ashkenazy maintains his devotion to the piano, these days mostly in the recording studio, where he continues to build his extraordinarily comprehensive recording catalogue. Spring 2013 saw the release of ‘Ashkenazy: 50 Years on Decca’ - a 50-CD box-set celebrating Ashkenazy’s long standing relationship with Decca Classics. In 2014, Decca also released a milestone collection of Ashkenazy’s vast catalogue of Rachmaninov’s piano music, which also includes all of his recordings as a conductor of the composer’s orchestral music.

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Audio

Contacts

Jasper Parrott +44 (0)20 7229 9166
Federico Hernandez +44 (0)20 3725 9184
Nadja Saborova +49 (0)89 6797 104 82

Reviews

“The Cleveland Orchestra joined two old friends - guest conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and pianist Emanuel Ax […] Ashkenazy set the first movement up with a true pianissimo and a leisurely, spacious tempo that gave Ax plenty of room to express himself […] Communication between soloist, conductor, and orchestra was mesmerizing. Ashkenazy and the Orchestra’s strings gave those outer movements an ebullient performance, and brought out Elgar’s elegiac side in the expressive Larghetto. Sunday’s program ended in an explosion of orchestral color with Elgar’s Enigma Variations. What fun it would have been to be one of the composer’s friends and find your personality captured in these thumbnail sketches. The sonorous opening leads to fourteen witty, brilliant, sometimes bittersweet musical portraits, including one identified only as *** (an enigma within an enigma). Canny pacing from Ashkenazy and playing of uncommon brilliance and transparency from The Cleveland Orchestra and its many soloists made this a performance to cherish.” (Cleveland, November 2017) 

“The orchestra Friday evening welcomed Ashkenazy like a favorite uncle, treating their guest, a regular since 1968 but absent since 2010, to two uniformly stellar performances of works by Elgar, and supported Ax with affection in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.1. After the first work on the program, one can only ask: where has Elgar's Serenade for Strings been since 1996? Maybe Ashkenazy, the one who performed it then as well, is the key, the one uniquely capable of unlocking the work's elegance and supreme tenderness of feeling. Maybe he's the only one who can elicit from Cleveland's strings such clarity and tonal sheen. Different, much more famous work by Elgar after intermission. Same electrifying effect by Ashkenazy. You would think, after so many performances over the years, that the Cleveland Orchestra couldn't get better in the "Enigma Variations," that within those 14 musical portraits, there wouldn't be anything left to reveal. You would be wrong. With Ashkenazy at the helm Friday, the orchestra made the popular score sound almost new. With him, the piece was again the virtuoso showcase it really is, the treasure-trove of melody and brilliant orchestration.” (Cleveland, November 2017)

“There is great intensity to Eisenstein’s images of terrifying violence and the Shostakovich arrangement underlines this. […] Ashkenazy drew muscular and detailed playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra. He also gave the music light and shade.” (ClassicalSource, October 2017)

“The Cleveland Orchestra joined two old friends - guest conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and pianist Emanuel Ax […] Ashkenazy set the first movement up with a true pianissimo and a leisurely, spacious tempo that gave Ax plenty of room to express himself […] Communication between soloist, conductor, and orchestra was mesmerizing. Ashkenazy and the Orchestra’s strings gave those outer movements an ebullient performance, and brought out Elgar’s elegiac side in the expressive Larghetto. Sunday’s program ended in an explosion of orchestral color with Elgar’s Enigma Variations. What fun it would have been to be one of the composer’s friends and find your personality captured in these thumbnail sketches. The sonorous opening leads to fourteen witty, brilliant, sometimes bittersweet musical portraits, including one identified only as *** (an enigma within an enigma). Canny pacing from Ashkenazy and playing of uncommon brilliance and transparency from The Cleveland Orchestra and its many soloists made this a performance to cherish.” (Cleveland, November 2017) 

“The orchestra Friday evening welcomed Ashkenazy like a favorite uncle, treating their guest, a regular since 1968 but absent since 2010, to two uniformly stellar performances of works by Elgar, and supported Ax with affection in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No.1. After the first work on the program, one can only ask: where has Elgar's Serenade for Strings been since 1996? Maybe Ashkenazy, the one who performed it then as well, is the key, the one uniquely capable of unlocking the work's elegance and supreme tenderness of feeling. Maybe he's the only one who can elicit from Cleveland's strings such clarity and tonal sheen. Different, much more famous work by Elgar after intermission. Same electrifying effect by Ashkenazy. You would think, after so many performances over the years, that the Cleveland Orchestra couldn't get better in the "Enigma Variations," that within those 14 musical portraits, there wouldn't be anything left to reveal. You would be wrong. With Ashkenazy at the helm Friday, the orchestra made the popular score sound almost new. With him, the piece was again the virtuoso showcase it really is, the treasure-trove of melody and brilliant orchestration.” (Cleveland, November 2017)

“There is great intensity to Eisenstein’s images of terrifying violence and the Shostakovich arrangement underlines this. […] Ashkenazy drew muscular and detailed playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra. He also gave the music light and shade.” (ClassicalSource, October 2017)

“Ashkenazy is an excellent partner in Schumann’s Concerto, and especially in the Dvořák Concerto… the result is a truly symphonic utterance, the tempos perfectly judged and everything placed at the service of the composer; here is music-making of rare quality.” (International Record Review, April 2013)

“Under Vladimir Ashkenazy’s baton, the EUYO musicians tore into Strauss’s Alpine Symphony for all they were worth… Ashkenazy’s extrovert approach juiced all the ecstatic and cataclysmic moments in this opulent score and treated the more lyrical material with a songful warmth. The musicians responded with burnished brass chording, thunderous accents from the percussion and a gorgeous sheen on their voluminous string section.” (The Washington Post, April 2012)

“A powerhouse ensemble of youthful performers... and those present were witness to amazing feats of virtuosity. [Ashkenazy] was the ideal guide; he knew every twist and turn of the precipitous musical trail up and down the mountain, and clearly showed the way to all of his charges for the entire perilous journey. Hats off, Mr. Ashkenazy.” 
(The Boston Musical Intelligencer, April 2012) 

“Vladimir Ashkenazy turns craftsmanship into sheer joy. Prokofiev was all weightlessness and light. The three-movement suite from his opera The Love for Three Oranges was a perfect counterpart to the haunting second Violin Concerto. In the opening of the concert, Ashkenazy made the March sparkle like an encore, but he was just as liberating all night. Continually working with opposing textures of light and shade, he always gave a centre to the orchestral sound. A sound you could have drunk from a cup. Both soft and loud passages had aura and inner radiance. This great artist comes across as a modest man. But there was nothing modest about his gigantic vision of the works on this programme.” (Opera, January 2012)

“Ashkenazy skilfully paced a performance of highly-strung excitement and truly explosive energy.” (The Times, May 2011, on Beethoven’s Symphony No.9) 

“Suddenly, music that is often experienced as though being viewed through a surgical observation window comes surging off the page with a passion to have one reassessing its emotional raison d’étre.” (International Piano, November/December 2009)

“Ashkenazy stresses the lyricism as well as the anguish of Suk’s score; this is a performance of great dignity and nobility, with fine attention to detail.” (BBC Music Magazine, July 2009)

“The music crackles with cinematic fervour, as the story spills out in a headlong rush accompanied by brilliantly coloured orchestral textures. This is Ashkenazy's strong suit as a conductor - he's never more persuasive than when wrangling an oversized orchestral score through its paces - and he brought fervour and splash to the performance.” (San Francisco Chronicle, March 2009)