“Sinaisky, whose conducting is precise, sensuous and who has a near perfect technique must have sharpened the senses of the Gewandhaus. This orchestra rarely plays with such boundless generosity, with such flexible dynamic range, with such voluptuous use of colour, so rich in detail and with such a grasp of structure. A truly great Shostakovich – moving, truthful and unsettling.”
Vassily Sinaisky’s international career was launched in 1973 when he won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Karajan Competition in Berlin. His early work with Kirill Kondrashin at the Moscow Philharmonic and with Ilya Musin at the Leningrad Conservatoire provided him with an incomparable grounding. Soon after his success at the Karajan Competition, Sinaisky was appointed Chief Conductor of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, a post he held from 1976 to 1987. He then became Music Director and Principal Conductor of the Moscow Philharmonic, leading numerous high-profile projects with the Orchestra both in Russia and on tour.
In 2010, Sinaisky was announced as the new Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow. Highlights of the first seasons have included major new productions of Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel by Kirill Serebrennikov and Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier by Stephen Lawless (the first ever staging of this work in Moscow). Sinaisky’s appointment has coincided with the re-opening of the Bolshoi’s main stage following a five-year refurbishment, returning this legendary opera house to its position as one of the greatest in the world.
As a guest conductor, Sinaisky enjoys regular collaborations with such orchestras as the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, Berlin Radio Symphony, Stuttgart Radio Symphony and Czech Philharmonic. Recent seasons have also seen him conduct the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and NHK Symphony, Tokyo.
Sinaisky additionally holds the positions of Conductor Emeritus of the BBC Philharmonic and Honorary Conductor of the Malmö Symphony Orchestra, Sweden. Memorable projects with the BBC Philharmonic have included the Shostakovich and his Heroes festival, tours to Europe and China, and many appearances at the BBC Proms. With the Malmö Symphony, Sinaisky has toured to the UK and to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, and recorded an acclaimed four-disc series of the symphonies of Franz Schmidt. Sinaisky has also held the positions of Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic and Music Director of the Russian State Orchestra.
Sinaisky has a distinguished pedigree as an operatic conductor. In addition to his projects at the Bolshoi Theatre, Sinaisky recently conducted Iolanta and Francesca da Rimini in new productions by Stephen Lawless at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. He also recently conducted Boris Godunov at San Francisco Opera. Other projects have included productions of Carmen and Der Rosenkavalier for English National Opera and an acclaimed Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with Hans Neuenfels at the Komische Oper Berlin.
Vassily Sinaisky’s recordings include the aforementioned set of the symphonies of Franz Schmidt for Naxos with the Malmö Symphony Orchestra. His other recordings include many with the BBC Philharmonic including works by Shostakovich, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shchedrin, Glinka, Liadov, Schreker and Szymanowski. Vassily Sinaisky is a noted and influential teacher, and holds the position of Professor of Conducting at the St Petersburg Conservatoire.
Vassily Sinaisky is represented by Intermusica.
November 2013 / 530 words. Not to be altered without permission.
Bolshoi Opera on tour in Israel / Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
“Conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, the excellently coordinated Bolshoi opera orchestra excitedly contributed the work’s dramatic tension and emotional intensity.”
The Jerusalem Post, July 2013
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Shostakovich
“This stunningly well played concert of violent emotional contrasts was a triumphant display of the powers of concentration of both conductor and players….And so to the enigma of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.6. Vassily Sinaisky is one of a great line of Russian conductors in this repertoire, and he gave us an intense and disturbing performance, part apocalypse and part circus.”
Birmingham Post, April 2013
The Cleveland Orchestra / Tchaikovsky
“In some hands, the symphony’s slow movement, “Land of Desolation, Land of Mists,” resembles its title all too closely. With Sinaisky, however, the scene was anything but dull or hazy. Rather, it moved along swiftly and compellingly, fueled by a strong current and clear sense of purpose. Likewise, both “Reveries of a Winter Journey” and the Finale evinced the sparkle, drama and propulsive force of a master who’s traversed the territory many times before. Saturday was Sinaisky’s debut in Cleveland, but it was far from his first foray into the realm... the orchestra sounded magnificent.”
The Plain Dealer, July 2012
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra / Shostakovich
“Vassily Sinaisky refuses to draw attention to himself, so one can easily underestimate him. He certainly proved his great quality during this performance of Shostakovich’s eighth symphony, creating tension, brilliance and drawing the finest possible playing from the RSB. The orchestra created a completely homogenous sound and a sense of shared experience... This was a most impressive evening. 5 stars.”
RBB KulturRadio, February 2012
“The symphony lasted for more than an hour, and yet the time seemed to fly by. Sinaisky and the RSB created a vivid, apocalyptic sound-world... like a memorial in music for all those who had died.”
Tagesspiegel, February 2012
“This was a weighty evening of lamentation, mourning, and in the end, hope... The RSB, under Sinaisky’s baton, managed a finely nuanced balancing act between cries of victory and of plaintiveness, with complete unanimity and excellent performances.”
Kultur-info, February 2012
Czech Philharmonic / Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich
“It was quite possibly the best Tchaikovsky this critic has ever heard, rich and full-blooded, unveiling vivid colours and shimmering textures at every turn... After intermission, Sinaisky served up a masterful interpretation of Shostakovich’s Symphony No.10. The conductor lingered over the fractured, brooding passages of the first movement, teased out delicate sonorities in the third, and showed perfect control throughout, even when whipping the sound into a piercing shriek. The balance he struck between solo lines and the full orchestra was phenomenal, producing an almost completely transparent sound. The overall effect was powerful without a hint of bombast.”
Prague Culture, February 2012
Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France / Prokofiev and Shostakovich
“Sinaisky grabbed the reins and presented the audience with a performance of great power and sheer sound... Remarkable conducting.”
ConcertoNet, February 2012
Tchaikovsky Iolanta and Rachmaninov Francesca da Rimini / Theater an der Wien
Dir. Stephen Lawless
“Tchaikovsky’s strongly evocative score was championed with precision, affection and passion... The Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Vassily Sinaisky, Chief Conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. Sinaisky, a master conductor of the old school, led with consummate technique and with every possible attention to detail. When he coaxed the melody from the strings or the woodwind in some of the most beautiful passages, it even brought a tear to the eye.”
Neue Musikzeitung, January 2012
BBC Philharmonic at the BBC Proms / Moeran, Finzi & Elgar
"Conductor Vassily Sinaisky gave a dynamic, energised performance of Elgar's Second Symphony with the BBC Philharmonic, a fitting memorial to Ted Downes, the BBC Phil's principal conductor throughout the 80s, in the British symphony he loved more than any other."
The Guardian, July 2009
"…this was a triumph, not least for Vassily Sinaisky, the BBC Philharmonic’s chief guest conductor, who proved beyond doubt that being Russian needn’t stop you understanding and loving the symphony’s very British and 1930s mix of folk nostalgia and personal sorrow — and the jitters and shellshock of war."
The Times, July 2009
Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin / Liebermann, Elgar and Tchaikovsky
“It was clear from the vivacious first bars of Liebermann’s “Furioso” that a musician of the highest order stood on the podium. The 61 year old Vassily Sinaisky comes unmistakably from the Russian tradition of Rozhdestvensky, Kondrashin, Svetlanov and Mravinsky, who combined clarity of structure with energy, and treated the music with absolute reverence, unlike so many conductors of the younger generation. In the Elgar, Sinaisky clearly held the soloist in high esteem, as did the visibly moved orchestra... Against this background, Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony, the Pathétique, came across as a concentrated anticipation of the horrors of the 20th century; from the darkness of the opening movement, through the march of the 3rd movement that gradually burned itself out, sinking back into the darkness of the closing movement. It goes without saying with this conductor that his interpretation developed from an intimate knowledge of the score, bringing out both the subtleties and the moments of unrestrained outcry with equal success. A great evening.”
Berliner Zeitung, December 2008
Malmö Symphony Orchestra
"The Malmö Symphony Orchestra is entering a new era with Vassily Sinaisky as its principal conductor. It was undoubtedly a good Swedish regional orchestra previously, and it has provided me with many good musical experiences in the fifteen years that I have followed it. But something else is happening now; it now deserves a place on the European music scene as an orchestra of distinction.”
Skånska Dagbladet, December 2008
LA Philharmonic / Berlioz, Rachmaninov
“Sinaisky distinguished himself from the outset... The conductor never compromised on virtuosity, but he larded these strains with a touching humanity that made the music all the more compelling. Thus the lush string sound of the first movement also contained a touching valedictory quality, the heady swirls from the woodwinds in the second movement sounded slightly haunted, and real tenderness softened the edge of the ferocious playing in the finale.
I spied architect Frank Gehry in the house and couldn't help but think how right pleased he must be with his Disney Hall after a performance like this. He certainly should be.”
David Mermelstein, Los Angeles Daily News, February 2007
BBC Scottish Symphony / Mahler Symphony No.5
“Here was a conductor who, with the presence of a rejuvenated Klemperer, possessed an almost infallible grasp of the symphony's structure. Nothing straggled. No effect was exaggerated. The great Tannhauser theme simply grew out of the texture of the second movement and receded into it again. The woodwind and pizzicato strings in the scherzo mingled to perfection.
Fine detail was everywhere, never impeding the music's progress but enhancing it. The contours of the adagietto were lovingly gauged, sliding into the finale like a dream awakening.”
The Herald, March 2006
BBC Philharmonic / ‘Shostakovich and his Heroes’ festival
“…The real hero of the cycle, however, was Vassily Sinaisky, for whom the BBC Philharmonic played with splendid precision and imagination in five of the 12 concerts.”
The Independent, March 2006
“The whole retrospective has been among the most significant events in British music-making in recent years, matchless in its scope and concentration, and redefining, almost from scratch, our understanding of one of the 20th century's greatest, most complex composers.”
The Guardian, February 2006
"This towering performance, with Vassily Sinaisky conducting the BBC Philharmonic, was a forceful reminder of its musical validity as well as its inherently subversive politics... Without losing sight of the score's architectural coherence, Sinaisky pulled all the threads together to create a terrifying portrait of a world in which both positivism and emotion are brutalised. The BBCPO played as if their lives depended on it, and the orchestral sound, with screaming woodwind and savage brass, was pulverising and blindingly clear."
The Guardian, January 2006
"The Shostakovich centenary year will be very remarkable indeed if it produces another performance of the Fourth Symphony to match Saturday night's viscerally penetrating one by the BBC Philharmonic under Vassily Sinaisky. Taut, tense and terrifying..."
The Telegraph, January 2006
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Prokofiev
“This concert marked Sinaisky’s debut with the LPO. It was auspicious. The eloquent flow of his conducting opened up a wealth of instrumental detail and colour that emerged as though for the first time. Achieving that in a work as familiar as Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherezade is a considerable feat, and the drama and precision of the rhythmic figuration was brilliantly executed…”
The Guardian, November 2004
Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra / Shostakovich Symphony No.10
“Sinaisky, who’s conducting is precise, sensuous and who has a near perfect technique must have sharpened the senses of the Gewandhaus. This orchestra rarely plays with such boundlessly generosity, with such flexible dynamic range, with such voluptuous use of colour, so rich in detail and with such a grasp of structure. A truly great Shostakovich – moving, truthful and unsettling.”
Leipziger Volkszeitung, May 2004
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Shostakovich Symphony No.7
“He built the notorious “invasion” theme from a distant whisper – heard impeccably in the Disney Hall acoustics – into a terrifying, sickening war machine… He oversaw all the big orchestral sections with masterly control. The orchestra played splendidly.”
Los Angeles Times, March 2004
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in residence at Luzern Festival / Stravinsky
“…Sinaisky set his interpretation with nimble tempi and pointed tone, which provided a refreshing counterpoint to Stravinsky’s neo-classical writing – and the orchestra took up this approach brilliantly…”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, September 2003
“The balance in sound was evenly spread, the brass fitting perfectly with the string sound, but not masking it … Vassily Sinaisky brought out lyrical, soft sounds, as well as clean-cut corners and strong lines from the orchestra, so that there were always moments of dynamic tension…”
Neue Luzerner Zeitung, September 2003
English National Opera / Strauss Der Rosenkavalier
“…Sinaisky lingers over the score with great fondness, as if trying to capture its beauty before it, too, is dissolved by time. This is everything a Rosenkavalier should be…”
The Guardian, March 2003
“…Vassily Sinaisky is a born Straussian … the beauty of Sinaisky’s interpretation is its seamlessness … ENO needs conductors of his experience…”
The Financial Times, March 2003
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra / BBC Proms / Respighi and Stravinsky
“Played to perfection by Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, this performance was conducted with furious energy by Vassily Sinaisky … La Boutique Fantasque … was pure joy.”
The Guardian, August 2002
“…the orchestration is brilliant, and Sinaisky, and a now vast orchestra, revelled in it. So did we”
The Evening Standard, August 2002