Born in Moscow, Valery Gergiev initially studied conducting under Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatory. While still a student, he won the Herbert von Karajan conducting competition in Berlin. In 1978, aged 24, Valery Gergiev became assistant conductor of Yuri Temirkanov at the Mariinsky Opera, where he made his debut conducting Sergei Prokofiev’s adaptation of Tolstoy’s »War and Peace«. More than two decades ago, he assumed his current position as director of the legendary Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, which has since become a cornerstone of operatic culture in Russia.
Valery Gergiev’s close cooperation with the Munich Philharmonic began in the 2011-12 season. Since then, he has performed all symphonies by Dmitri Shostakovich and a cycle of works by Igor Stravinsky with both the Philharmonic and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Since the 2015-16 season, Valery Gergiev is chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. As »Maestro der Stadt« (The City’s Maestro) he reaches out to Munich concert audiences with subscription concerts and performances for young people, public final rehearsals, an open-air concert series on Odeonsplatz, and the »MPHIL 360°«-festival, while reaching an international audience with regular live streams and television broadcasts from the Philharmonie im Gasteig.
Travels with Valery Gergiev have taken the Munich Philharmonic to numerous European cities as well as Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan and the USA. In September 2016, the first CD recordings documenting the Munich Philharmonic’s work were released under the orchestra’s own label, »MPHIL«. Currently, the Munich Philharmonic and Valery Gergiev are working on a complete recording of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies in the church of St. Florian abbey. By the 2020/21 season, all of Anton Bruckner’s symphonies will gradually be released.
On 13 October 2018 Valery Gergiev celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Munich Philharmonic by performing Igor Strawinsky's »Symphonie de Psaumes« and Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 8 at the Philharmonic Hall at Gasteig in Munich.
In October 2021, Valery Gergiev and the Munich Philharmonic inaugurated the Isarphilharmonie – the orchestra’s new home and concert hall while the Gasteig is being renovated.