Jansons currently leads two esteemed European symphonies – the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Netherlands’ Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam.
Some of the world’s greatest symphony orchestras have happily subjected their performances to the Latvian conductor’s outstandingly “soulful” gestures. They cite Jansons’ bright talent and generous personal charm, as he is one of the few guest conductors who takes the musicians out for lunch or dinner as a tradition.
According to Latvian Radio 3 classical music program director Gunda Vaivode, Jansons is not just a great artist, but like an “ideal prototype” of a Latvian.
“That’s why all those musicians he works with love him so – he’s scrupulous, even pedantic in his work, but with tremendous skill and charisma pulls people in for the sake of an idea,” she told Latvian Radio’s Baiba Kušķe Friday.
Wherever he works, Jansons always stresses his national origin. Born in Riga, he moved to Leningrad at the age of thirteen and from the age of thirty has been working in many different countries, including at some of the best-known orchestras in Europe and the US.
“We mustn’t ‘rip him to pieces’, hoping he’ll perform more in Latvia,” she warned, “rather go to see him wherever else he may be. We must simply cherish such people, who with their name, with their musicianship can do hundreds of times more for Latvia elsewhere rather than quietly pursuing their art here at home.”
Jansons is a recipient of the Grammy Award (in 2006 for the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra’s Best Orchestral Performance of Shostakovich’s 13th Symphony) as well Germany’s Cross of Merit for his achievements and outstanding service to the nation. He has also received royal distinctions in Norway and the Netherlands, and is an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music and Vienna’s Society of Music Friends.
Jansons recently announced his exit from the Royal Concertgebouw following the 2014/2015 season. “If one were analyze my life, it would seem as one constant state of preparation. Conduct one concert, next day prepare for another one with a different orchestra… But then every day I ask myself, when am I finally going to start living my life?” he told Latvian Television after the announcement.
The Grand Music Award (LMB) is the “supreme Latvian state award” in music, a tradition established in 1993 to “mark each year’s major achievements in the concert life of our country.” The awards selection and ceremony are organized by the Ministry of Culture together with concert organizer Latvijas koncerti.
All year long a respectable jury monitors the scene and chooses its prime honoree by January, as well as the nominees for a host of awards to be presented at the Latvian National Opera on March 3.