The Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival in a nutshell.When Valery Gergiev became Principal Conductor in 1995 he and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra decided to hold an ambitious multi-day musical event. One year later, they presented the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival.

The early years
What began in 1996 as a themed concert series grew into a large-scale music festival. The 2001 edition was a major milestone, because it adopted a multi-disciplinary format to spotlight Shostakovich and his War Symphonies. In 2003 the Festival chose a ‘difficult composer’ in Prokofiev, but thanks to the wide range of programmes it managed to attract a record number of visitors. Further successes were achieved in the festival featuring Tchaikovsky (2004) and the edition entitled Fin-de-siècle Icons (2005) with music including works by Wagner and Strauss.

The second decade
In 2006 the Festival entered its second decade, with Freedom as its motto. There was now no focus on a particular composer or musical period, but a theme that gives every opportunity to place the music in a wider context. That course was pursued in the editions Night of Love, Heaven and Earth, Eternal Youth and a festival triptych about Rotterdam: Resurrection (2010), Sea & the City (2011) en Sea & You (2012). And in 2013, exactly 25 years after his debut with the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra the festival marked Valery Gergiev’s ‘silver’ affiliation with the city.

Gergiev Festival 2016
Last year the Gergiev Festival celebrated the 125th anniversary of the birth of the brilliant composter Prokofiev with a programme devoted entirely to his music. The best soloists came to Rotterdam. There were symphony concerts, film compositions, chamber music and children's performances. And to crown it all, the complete piano concertos. With almost 13,000 visitors, this edition was a big success. Take a look at the Gergiev Festival Facebookpage for all reactions and photo's.