The Russian conductor, Alexander [Aleksandr] Lazarev, studied with Leo Ginsbourg at the Moscow Conservatory with Leo Ginsbourg, graduating with first class honours. In 1971 he won first prize in the Soviet Union's national competition for conductors, and the following year (1972) went on to win first prize and gold medal at the Karajan Competition in Berlin.
From 1973 to 1987 Alexander Lazarev was Bolshoi Theatre conductor; from 1987 to 1995 he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Theatre. the first person for over thirty years to hold both positions concurrently. His leadership marked a period of intensive activity with the Bolshoi Opera undertaking an unprecedented programme of prestigious foreign tours including Tokyo (1989), La Scala, Milan (1989), the Edinburgh Festival (1990 and 1991) and the Metropolitan Opera in New York (1991). Several of the Theatre’s most successful productions including Glinka’s A Life for the Tsar, Tchaikovsky’s The Maid of Orleans and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Mlada were filmed for video, and the Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra made a number of highly acclaimed recordings for Erato including such milestones of the Russian symphonic repertoire as Sergei Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 2 and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 8. He now holds the title of Conductor-in-Residence and this season will be conducting a new production of Tchaikovsky’s The Enchantress.
Alexander Lazarev has been a regular visitor to the UK since his debut in 1987. From 1992 to 1995, he was Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. In 1994, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO), from 1997 to 2005 he was its Principal Conductor, and is now its Conductor Emeritus. Hisg points of his tenture with them included complete cycles of the symphonies of D. Shostakovich and D. Prokofiev, appearances at the Proms and extensive foreign tours.
In recent years Alexander Lazarev has worked as a regular guest with the Philharmonia Orchestra and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, appearing with them in London, Paris and Vienna. Other orchestras he has conducted include the Berliner Philharmoniker, Münchner Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Orchestre National de France, Oslo Philharmonic, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Montreal Symphony, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra, and he has appeared with opera companies such as the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Arena di Verona, Opéra Bastille, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Bavarian State Opera and Netherlands Opera.
His repertoire is particularly enterprising in its scope, ranging from the 18th century to the avant-garde. In 1978 he founded the Ensemble of Soloists of the Bolshoi Theatre whose most important aim was the programming and wide dissemination of contemporary music by both Soviet and foreign composers.
Alexander Lazarev is a prolific recording artist - in addition to his recordings with the Bolshoi Symphony for Erato, he has made over 35 recordings for Melodiya, and has also recorded for Virgin Classics, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra for Sony Classical, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Hyperion and BMG, and with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra for BIS and Linn Records. Since September 2008 he has been Principal Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. His work with the orchestra is extensively represented on Octavia Records; they are currently in the process of performing and recording complete cycles of the Prokofiev and S. Rachmaninov symphonies.
Engagements this season (2011-2012) include L’amour des trios oranges at the Opera Bastille, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk at the Grand Theatre de Geneve and The Rake’s Progress at the Opera Natkonal de Lyon.