Valery Gergiev, The Powerful And Polarizing Maestro

February 4, 2014 9:37 PM

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Valery Gergiev, The Powerful And Polarizing Maestro

There are a lot of rumors, but officials of the Sochi Olympics are being tight-lipped about what's in store for the opening ceremonies. Among the artists expected to perform are leading classical musicians, a choir made up of a thousand children from all over Russia, and renowned conductor Valery Gergiev. President Vladimir Putin named Gergiev one of the International Ambassadors of the Sochi Olympics. He is a powerful force in the world of classical music, but he is also polarizing.

Gergiev is a formidable presence: tall, broad-shouldered and he often shows up for concerts uncombed and unshaven. He has strong ties to major orchestras throughout Europe and the U.S. including the London Symphony, New York's Metropolitan Opera and the Rotterdam Philharmonic. But Russia is where he...

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