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Dmitri Liss

Dmitri Liss is recognized as one of today’s most exciting young conductors. As Associate Conductor of the Russian National Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, he has won praise and rave reviews for his interpretations of the Russian masterworks as well as of contemporary music.

Liss was born in the former Soviet Union in 1960 and graduated with honors from the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied under Dmitri Kitayenko. After graduating from the Conservatory in 1984, he joined the Kuzbass Symphony and, in 1989, accepted a position with the Omsk Symphony, working with both orchestras simultaneously. By 1991 he had risen to Principal Conductor in Kuzbass, the youngest chief conductor in Russia at that time. He was subsequently named Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra.

Liss won the First International Competition of Young Conductors (Zagreb, Yugoslavia) in 1995. His debut with the Russian National Orchestra came in 1997 in a dazzling Moscow performance featuring RNO music director and world renowned pianist Mikhail Pletnev as soloist. Liss was invited to lead the RNO on its annual tour of the Volga region and he conducted the final concert of the Rachmaninov Festival held in Novgorod in April 1998 in celebration of the composer’s 125th anniversary. He began to tour internationally with the RNO in November 1998 and was appointed Associate Conductor soon thereafter.

Liss has toured Asia and the United States and throughout western and central Europe. As guest conductor, he has led the Moscow Philharmonic, St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Estonian National Orchestra, Budapest Philharmonic, American-Russian Youth Orchestra and the World Youth Orchestra. In addition to Mikhail Pletnev, prominent soloists who have performed under his baton include Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Peter Donohoe, Mstislav Rostropovich and Wynton Marsalis. Critics praise Liss’ elegant style and artistic execution. Compared by some to Leonard Bernstein, he is considered among the world’s finest interpreters of Tchaikovsky and of contemporary music, and has a special gift for working with young people. Of his debut with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic in 1998, conducting Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony Pathetique, one critic wrote, “Dmitri Liss was possessed of absolute power both over the orchestra and the audience. It was a dialogue with eternity”.

Liss’ last-minute substitution as conductor of the Russian National Orchestra’s summer 1999 residency at Hollywood Bowl was enthusiastically received by audiences and critics alike. The Orange County Register wrote, “He threw himself into conducting the as-scheduled agenda as if it had been his own choicest repertory to begin with, extroverted and sweeping in his motions in the big music, lyrical and elegant in the quiet, firmly on top of cues everywhere. The performances came off strongly defined, sharply inflected and lucidly textured...You didn’t want them to end”.