began his musical career as a pianist, winning second prize at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1974. After his musical studies at the Mannes School and Juilliard School in New York, he was appointed Carlo Maria Giulini’s assistant in 1979 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic and became Associate Conductor two years later.
He was Music Director of the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1984 to 1990, Principal Guest Conductor of the Teatro Comunale di Firenze from 1987 to 1992 and Music Director of the Opéra de Paris-Bastille from 1989 to 1994. The year 2000 marked his return to Paris as Music Director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. His love for Italy has been the basis of his extensive work in that country for many years, including, from 1997 to 2005, his position as Principal Conductor of the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. He also appears regularly at the Teatro La Fenice, recently conducting Madama Butterfly, Simon Boccanegra, Otello and Tristan und Isolde. Other recent opera engagements include La traviata and Rigoletto at the Wiener Staatsoper. In Germany, he became Principal Guest Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden at the beginning of the 2012/13 season, the first conductor to hold the post in the history of the orchestra. Outside Europe, he is increasingly committed to musical and social causes in Asia through his role as Honorary Conductor Laureate of the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra and previously as Music Director of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra.