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Maestro Pavel Kogan’s career has spanned over 40 years and five continents and has led him to becoming one of the most respected and widely known Russian conductors of our time. In 2011 the Maestro’s name went into the list of ten greatest conductors of the 20th century, made by an authoritative British Classical TV channel.
He was born into a distinguished musical family – his parents are legendary violinists Leonid Kogan and Elizaveta Gilels and his uncle is the inimitable pianist Emil Gilels. From an early age Maestro Kogan’s artistic development was divided between conducting and violin. He was granted special permission to study both disciplines at the same time which was an extreme rarity in the Soviet Union.
In 1970 eighteen-year-old Pavel Kogan, a violin pupil of Yuri Yankelevich at the Moscow Conservatory, won 1st prize in the Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki. Thereafter he appeared regularly as a violinist in concerts around the world. In 2010 a panel of judges has been elected to decide on the best conqueror in the competition’s 45-years history for the Helsingin Salomat newspaper. And by unanimous resolution of the jury Maestro Kogan was named the absolute winner.
As a conducting pupil of Ilya Musin and Leo Ginsburg, in 1972 the young Maestro gave his debut with the USSR State Symphony Orchestra and subsequently focused more on conducting. In the years that followed he conducted the leading Soviet orchestras both at home and on tour abroad at the invitation of Mravinsky, Kondrashin, Svetlanov and Rozhdestvensky.
In 1988, as a conductor of the Bolshoi Opera, Kogan opened the season with a new production of Verdi’s La Traviata. That same year he became the head of the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 1989 Pavel Kogan has been the Music Director and Chief Conductor of the eminent Moscow State Symphony Orchestra (MSSO), building it into one of Russia’s most widely known and highly acclaimed orchestras.
From 1998-2005 he served as principal guest conductor of the Utah Symphony Orchestra.
Maestro Kogan appeared with many prominent orchestras including the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra, USSR State Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Belgique, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, RTVE Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Orquesta Filarmónica de Buenos Aires, L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Orchestre National de France, Houston Symphony, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and the Luxembourg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pavel Kogan has recorded countless works with the MSSO and other ensembles, which became a major contribution to the world’s musical culture. Many of his albums have garnered great acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Gramophone called Kogan’s Rachmaninoff cycle (Symphonies 1, 2, 3, Symphonic Dances, “Isle of the Dead,” “Vocalize & Scherzo”) “…sparkly, strongly communicative Rachmaninoff... vibrant, soulful and involving.”
Maestro Kogan was awarded the State Prize of the Russian Federation for his performance of the complete symphonies and vocal cycles of Gustav Mahler. In 2014 Kogan was appointed Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, for his contribution to music in France. He is a member of the Russian Academy of Arts, recipient of the “Order of Merit” of Russia and of the title “Peoples’ Artist of Russia” among other Russian and overseas awards.