Conductor And Former Music Director Of PSO Mariss Jansons Dies At 76

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The famous conductor Mariss Jansons passed away on Nov. 30 at the age of 76.


Jansons died in his home in St. Petersburg, Russia after struggling with a heart condition.


Jansons previously served as the Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) from 1997 to 2004.


“Our hearts are heavy and saddened with the passing of Maestro Mariss Jansons, a great and beloved Music Director for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He was an exceptional leader who brought the orchestra into the 21st century with astonishing music not only at Heinz Hall but at halls throughout the world on tour,” said Melia Tourangeau, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.


“We are compelled to reflect on his passion for music making and his call to, ‘perform each night as if you think it is your last.’ We offer our deepest sympathy to his wife Irina and their family.”


Other members from PSO also shared their thoughts on Jansons’ passing, according to a press release from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.


“I was so very sad to learn this morning of the passing of our beloved former Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Music Director, Mariss Jansons. What a deep loss this is for the entire music world, which loses one of its greatest artists, but especially for Pittsburgh,” said Manfred Honeck, Music Director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.


“We will cherish the many unforgettable concerts that Mariss led, his extraordinary artistry and beautiful humanity. I personally have lost a dear friend and he will be greatly missed by all. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with his wife, Irina, and the entire family.”


Honeck actually addressed an audience about Jansons’ passing in concert today.


(Photo Courtesy of PSO Director of Communications Julie Goetz)


The orchestra then played Franz Schubert’s Litanei auf das Fest Aller Seelen, D. 343 in honor of Jansons’ memory and a moment of silence followed the performance.


(Photo Courtesy of PSO Director of Communications Julie Goetz)


Jansons’ had previously played with the Oslo, St. Petersburg and London Philharmonic Orchestras before taking on the position of Music Director for PSO.


“I felt it was already a good orchestra with wonderful players, and very well organized and managed And, although I was [the[ music conductor before in the eastern part of Europe, I didn’t have experience as music director in America,” Janson had said about taking the position.


“Therefore, I was thinking, for these two reasons it would be great for me to go to America. And, I must tell you that I was absolutely right. Because this was one of my most wonderful times in my life. And the community is unbelievably nice.”


PSO will continue to celebrate Jansons’ memory and contributions to the orchestra later this week.


“No one will forget his concert with the orchestra after September 11th. After Mariss’ plane was diverted en route here for the gala concert. He arrived just before the concert, and, without having ever conducted the piece, led the orchestra in Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man,” said Tom Todd, board member of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and chair of the board at that time. “The transformation of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Mariss was striking.”