Renowned Maestro Vasily Valitov of theYouth Symphony Orchestra of Russia
Vasily Valitov is one of the few musicians to feel tied working in only one genre, style, or direction, and he constantly strives to push the boundaries of his professional activities. That’s why his work is so multidimensional and multifaceted: he performs with major orchestras, as an art director at the one and only Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia, and as a conductor in the New Opera Moscow Theater and the Music of Children’s Hearts project. The rapid and triumphant of career Mr. Valitov and his authority and love of the audience are the result of much effort and constantly perfecting his skills.
Overture: First Steps in Music
“If I only knew that this path would be so complex and winding…”*
Vasily Valitov was born in 1976 into an ordinary family in Moscow. The future conductor was not surrounded by professional musicians, but music was always around. “Each apartment had a musical instrument, and it was considered completely normal for a person to play music with no professional education” he recalled later in an interview. Vasily began playing music at the age of five, performing in an ensemble of young violinists. According to him, that’s when he got “fired up by music.” The decisive step was his arrival in 1984 to the Central Special Music School at the Tchaikovsky State Conservatory, majoring in piano in the class of Prof. A.A. Bakulov. Eight years later, Vasily was mastering the oboe with Prof. G.P. Kerentsev.
The professional creative biography of Vasily began in 1994, when the talented ninth grader accepted an invitation to become a soloist in the newly created World Youth Symphony Orchestra. In many ways, this determined the fate of the musician, and touring with an orchestra and numerous appearances in the best concert halls of Moscow gave the future maestro his first serious experience as part of a musical collective. Upon graduating from the Central Music School in 1995, Vasily entered the Moscow State Conservatory; following that, he went to post-graduate studies.
*Footnote: Here and below we use quotes from an interview with Vasil Valitov from Snob (July 15, 2013) and OperaNews.ru (May 8, 2011).
Andante: 24-Year-Old Conductor
“In my youth, I was obsessed by this, and sometimes it turned into a struggle.”
Vasily was lucky to meet wonderful people. As a student musician, he accepted an invitation to work at the Young Russia State Symphony Orchestra by Honoured’s Artist of Russia Mark Gorenstein. He watched remarkable Russian and foreign conductors stand in front of the conductor’s stand, and Vasily carefully observed the work of renowned masters. It was then that his musical “godfather,” Prof. Leonid Nikolaev, saw that the promising young musician would be a conductor. On the advice of Nikolaev in 2001, Vasily began attending opera symphony conducting classes. After several extracurricular studies, Professor Nicholaev decides to take a chance and passed the conductor reins of the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia (at the time, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra) to the hands of the beginning artist.
The young bandleader had a lot of responsibility in the eyes of the collective, and, of course, in the eyes to/before of his teacher. Vasily focused completely on improving his skills, making every effort to ensure that the orchestra lived a brighter creative life under his leadership.
In 2002 Vasily entered the Moscow Conservatory at the Faculty of Opera and Symphonic Conducting and, upon graduating, he continued his studies at the master classes of world famous maestro James Judd (United States).
Allegro: First Success
“Conducting is a never-ending process in which you are constantly searching for yourself.”
In 2009, the Directorate of the Symphony Orchestra of Russia invited the young maestro to serve as guest conductor in the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow.
“Listening to the concert by Vasily Valitov, one is struck by the combination of wisdom and youthful ambitions in his work. We venture to guess only about the nature of his talent. One thing is certain: in front of us is a real Russian orchestra conductor, a successor to the great musical tradition” wrote Kul’ture newspaper. After such success, Vasily became a permanent guest conductor at the Symphony Orchestra of Russia.
Soon fate presented another amazing meeting, this time with Fuat Mansurov, conductor at the Bolshoi Theatre and principal conductor of the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan. Meeting with one of the best Russian conductors determined the creative development of Valitov for many years to come. Sensing the young maestro’s extraordinary potential, the wise and very generous Mansurov tried to ensure the student’s unique experience for as long as he lived.
“For me, symphony and theater work are two completely different states of mind, they have different energies… And the only thing that connects these two worlds is orchestra.”
The hard work under the strict guidance of the maestro produced results. In 2007, People’s Artist of Russia Vladimir Andropov, the artistic director at the Astrakhan State Opera and Ballet Theater, invited Valitov to conduct the opera Eugene Onegin, and the following year appointed him to the post of chief conductor of the theater. This began his theatrical career as a stage conductor. For three years, led by Valitov, the theater performed large-scale productions, organized symphony memberships cards, and hosted cultural and social projects.
The conductor continued leading the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia, as well as collaborating with various orchestras both in Russia and abroad. Under the leadership of Valitov, the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia successfully toured Qatar (2004) and France (2006, 2008, and 2012), where he was awarded grand prize for his performance.
In 2010, Vasily started working in the New Opera Theater in Moscow, where he currently serves as conductor in more than a dozen performances.
Intermezzo: Public Activities
“I believe in their future.”
In 2004 Vasily established the cultural and social project Music of Children’s Hearts, which has held more than 300 concerts in the best concert halls of the capital. The Music of Children’s Hearts won the Open Stage competition of innovative projects of the Department of Culture of Moscow for four consecutive years.
Today the project is supported by the government of the Russian Federation, international charities, and several permanent sponsors; since 2007, the Russian Peace Foundation is the general partner of Music of Children’s Hearts and the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Russia. In 2012, Music of Children’s Hearts performed for President Vladimir Putin in St. George Hall of the Moscow Kremlin.
Honors and Awards:
Award from the Mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov
Found Generation Award of the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II
Good Shepherd Medal for his contribution to the spiritual and moral education of young people
Acknowledgements from the Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation and heads of departments of the government of Moscow
Laureate and winner of international competitions and festivals.