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Daniel Smith: first Aussie to conduct the Mariinsky

Features - Classical Music

Daniel Smith: first Aussie to conduct the Mariinsky

by Hallam Fulcher on July 5, 2013 (July 5, 2013) filed under Classical Music | Comment Now
Conductor Daniel Smith will be the first Australian to helm the world famous Mariinsky Orchestra in Saint Petersburg.

Conductor Daniel Smith from Sydney is set to become the first Australian to conduct the Mariinsky Orchestra in three series of concerts this October and December in Saint Petersburg.

Smith, who expressed to Limelight last year his wish to “secure a music director position with a renowned symphony orchestra or opera company in the near future”, has moved a step closer to having his dreams realised with this latest appointment.

Smith will present Mozart's Symphonies 39, 40 and 41 with the orchestra from October 7-10; from October 11-15 he will conduct a program of Ravel's music – La Valse, Daphnis et Chloe and Bolero, along with other well-known works from the French Impressionist composer. Smith will also conduct the orchestra in a production of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in collaboration with Mariinsky Opera running from December 9-20.

Smith received a personal invitation to conduct from the orchestra's Artistic Director, Valery Gergiev, after the Russian maestro saw the 31-year-old conduct the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Petersburg Symphony Orchestra earlier this year.

“I have steadfast admiration for Maestro Gergiev and am deeply honoured by the invitation," Smith said. "Working with such a prestigious orchestra and opera house is a rare privilege, and will allow me to gain a personal understanding of the Russian cultural tradition. I am looking forward to the challenge.”

Sharing his time between Rome and Sydney, Smith is fast becoming one of the world’s most promising young conductors. Last year he won the Fitelberg International Conducting Competition in Poland, along with the Golden Baton, Orchestra’s Choice, PWM and Orpheus Prizes. He is set to conduct the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra later this year, and in 2014 the Warsaw National Philharmonic Orchestra and London Philharmonic.

This summer Smith also makes his first appearance at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro conducting Rossini’s Il viaggio a Reims in collaboration with Italian maestro Alberto Zedda.