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Dmitri Kitaenko (Conductor)

Born: August 18, 1940 - Leningrad, Russia

The Russian conductor, Dmitri [Dmitry, Dmitrij] Kitaenko [Kitayenko, Kitajenko], studied at the renowned Glinka Conservatory in Leningrad; then he stufied choral conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory and the Moscow Conservatory After his successful completion of the course, he continued his studies attending the post-graduate course at the Moscow Conservatory with Professor Lev (Leo) Ginsburg. With the thaw in the Cold War allowing greater artistic freedom in the Soviet Union, he moved onto the Vienna Academy of Music where he studied conducting with the famed conductor Hans Swarowsky and with Karl Osterreicher. He finished his studies there with honors.

In 1969 Dmitri Kitaenko won the first International Herbert von Karajan Foundation Competition in Berlin. Along with the triumph at the Karajan Competition, another important event of his artistic biography was his collaboration with outstanding German opera producer and professor W. Felsenatein. Together they produced the historical performance of the opera Carmen by Bizet first in Moscow and then in Berlin.

Upon his return to Moscow, Dmitri Kitaenko became a conductor at the Nemirovich-Danchenko Music Theater; and in 1970, when he was only 29 years old, he became Chief Conductor there. This post allowed him to gain much experience in operatic repertory. He also began conducting the leading Russian orchestras and soon became a regular conductor at the Bolshoi. He also appeared as a guest conductor in Western Europe, usually in programs of Russian music, and led important operatic productions in Brussels, Vienna, and Munich. The press of Vienna wrote about Dmitri Kitaenko dealing with the orchestra in a very simple and friendly way, he lets the musicians breathe and play freely, and reducing the conductors means to a minimum he achieves the convincing effect.

Dmitri Kitaenko made his concert appearance with the best symphony orchestras of the world, including the Wiener Philharmoniker, Berliner Philharmoniker, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Prague Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra. During his guest tour in USA, when he conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, the American newspapers wrote about the great impression produced by the Russian conductor; they called him one of the strongest and distinguished musicians who had lately visited Philadelphia, a man of striking individuality. In 1975 he served as assistant conductor during the USA. tour of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra (1975).

In 1976 Dmitri Kitaenko was appointed chief conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, succeeding Kirill Kondrashin. During his 14-year tenure, the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra has grown into one of the best orchestras of the world. Together they toured the major music venues in Europe, USA and Japan, including such prestigious musical festivals as Salzburg, Edinburgh and Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Hae made with this orchestra many recordings for the Soviet label Melodiya, his releases including the complete symphonies of Prokofiev, and various works by Dmitri Shostakovich, Sergei Rachmaninov, and, surprisingly, Gershwin.

In 1990 Dmitri Kitaenko left the Soviet Union for Western Europe, taking three conducting posts concurrently, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in Norway, one of the oldest European orchestras with enormous classical traditions (1990-1998), the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra (HR-Sinfonieorchester) (1990-1996), and the Bern Symhony Orchestra in Switzerland (1991-2004). Under his leadership, these orchestras have toured throughout the USA, South America, Japan and Europe. He also served as Music Director of the Bern City Theater (from 1994), and as principal conductor of the Moscow Opera Theater. After 1998, Kitaenko regularly began appearing as a guest conductor in Europe, Japan, and the USA. Guest conducting engagements during past seasons have included concerts with many of the worlds great orchestras, including the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Münchner Philharmoniker, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra and lots of famous American orchestras.

In 1999 Dmitri Kitaenko became Chief Conductor of the KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) Symphony Orchestra. The Orchestra has played a leading role in Korean musical life. This exciting partnership invited a great number of music lovers to the concerts performed by the Orchestra. During 2002 season, the KBS Symphony Orchestra under his leadership toured to Japan and China with great success. He served in this post until 2004.

Dmitri Kitaenko belongs to the great conductor personalities in our time, among the leading Russian conductors of his generation. Though generally overshadowed by his contemporary Yuri Temirkanov, as well as older-generation figures like Kirill Kondrashin and Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Kitaenko has made a spate of critically praised recordings for a variety of major labels in both operatic and symphonic repertory largely dominated by Russian composers. Among his first recordings to be released in the west was a 1991 Prokofiev disc on the Chandos label containing Alexander Nevsky and the Scythian Suite, made with the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir. Aside from the numerous recordings in the former USSR, he has also made many acclaimed recordings of the complete recordings of the symphonies by Scriabin, S. Rachmaninov, Sergei Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Grieg and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra for Teldec, BMG Classics, Capriccio and Chandos. In the new century he has made a number of successful recordings, including the 2001 cycle of the five Prokofiev piano concertos, with his former Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra and pianist Vladimir Krainev on the Elektra label. In 2005, Kitaenko finished recording with the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln the 15 symphonies of D. Shostakovich, and the set was issued on the Capriccio label to a quite favorable critical response.

Besides the concert and recording activities, Dmitri Kitaenko has dedicated himself again and again to young and up-coming artists. As conductor Dmitri Kitaenko has proven his educational abilities many times in the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival and the Bayrischer Rundfunk.

Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); KBS Symphony Orchestra Website; All Music Guide (Author: Robert Cummings); Wikipedia Website (June 2010)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (August 2010)

Recordings of Arrangements/Transcriptions of Bach’s Works




Dmitri Kitaenko


B. Krol: Magnificat Variations, for trumpet & string orchestra, Op. 40 [w/ trumpeter Wolfgang Bauer]

Links to other Sites

Meet the KBS Symphony Orchestra Conductors: Dmitry Kitaenko

Dmitri Kitayenko (AMG)
Dmitri Kitayenko (Wikipedia)

Biographies of Performers: Main Page | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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