Gavriel Heine is one of the most exciting and multifaceted conducting talents of his generation, working in opera, ballet and symphonic repertoire. He recently resigned from his position of resident conductor of the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia after 15 seasons with the world-renowned company. He also holds, since 2011, the title of Music Director of Northern Lights Festival Opera in Minnesota, USA. He has previously served as Chief Conductor of the Kharkiv Symphony Orchestra (Ukraine’s only orchestra for emerging professional musicians) from 2003 to 2007, and as Assistant Conductor of Center City Opera Theater in Philadelphia from 2006 to 2007.
Born and raised in the USA, Heine traveled to Russia at the age of 17 to study and became the first ever American citizen to graduate from the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory. He studied operatic/symphonic conducting with the legendary professor Ilya Musin and Leonid Korchmar at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, and completed a master's
degree in conducting at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, IN, where he studied with Imre Palló, Thomas Baldner and David Effron. Following his 2007 debut at the Mariinsky Theater, by invitation of Valery Gergiev (with whom Maestro Heine studied with in a televised master class with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra) he was appointed resident conductor of the theater.
Gavriel Heine’s repertoire encompasses a wide range of symphonic, ballet and operatic repertoire. At the Mariinsky Theatre alone he conducted well over 800 performances. Both on tour with the Mariinsky Orchestra and Ballet, and as a guest conductor, he has performed across the world in some of the most prestigious opera houses, festivals and concert venues, including: London’s Royal Opera House Covent Garden; the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden in Germany; Teatro Regio Torino in Italy, LAC in Lugano, Switzerland, the Gergiev Festival in Mikkeli, Finland, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater and Saint Petersburg’s Mikhailovsky Theater; Tokyo’s Bunka Kaikan, the Tianjin Grand Theater in China; the Kennedy Center in Washington, D. C., the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa, Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California, the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, and the Boston Opera House with Boston Ballet and Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Amongst the leading international orchestras which he has conducted are the Sinfonieorchester Basel and Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana in Switzerland; La Verdi Orchestra of Milan, the orchestras of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna and the Teatro Regio di Torino in Italy; the Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra in Croatia; the Athens State Orchestra; the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra, the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov", Moscow’s Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, the Saint Petersburg State Cappella Symphony Orchestra, the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra and the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra in Russia; the Jönköping Sinfonietta in Sweden and the Mikkeli Chamber Orchestra in Finland. He has also led rehearsals with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in The Netherlands as assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev.
His operatic repertoire includes Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Il barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, Macbeth, La forza del destino, Otello, La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Il Trittico, Pagliacci, Carmen, Eugene Onegin, The Tale of the Tsar Saltan, The Love for Three Oranges, Pelléas et Mélisande, Die lustige Witwe, Jenůfa; L’heure Espagnole, Bluebeard’s Castle, The Turn of the Screw, The Medium and Candide, amongst others.
His equally varied ballet repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Raymonda, La Bayadere, Le Corsaire, La Sylphide, Don Quixote, Paquita Grand Pas, Sylvia, The Firebird, Petrushka, Rite of Spring, Le Spectre de la Rose, The Swan, Chopiniana, Carnaval, Scheherazade, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Apollo, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Jewels, Serenade, Symphony in C, Suite en blanc, Le reveil de Flore, Bambi/In the Jungle, Inside the Lines, Push Comes to Shove and Le jeune homme et la mort, Paquita (Smekalov/Burlaka full 3-act version).
At the Northern Lights Music Festival, Heine has conducted new productions of Gianni Schicchi, Pagliacci, La bohème, Carmen, The Merry Widow, Madama Butterfly, Eugene Onegin, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Tosca, The Medium and La Cenerentola. Additionally, he conducted notable premieres at the Mariinsky Theatre including Robert Carsen's staging of My Fair Lady (co-production with the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris), Delibes/Ashton’s Sylvia, Anton Pimonov’s Bambi/In the Jungle and the Russian premiere of Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove at the XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival. He premiered Pet Halmen’s staging of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte at the Mikhailovsky Theatre in St. Petersburg (co-production with the Opéra de Lausanne, Switzerland), guest conducted a run of Romeo and Juliet at Boston Ballet, conducted a run of Verdi's Otello at Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, and led a pre-pandemic production of Candide at Opéra de Lausanne (rescheduled for November, 2022).
Gavriel Heine and Valery Gergiev share conducting credits on the soundtrack recording of Marco Beltrami's score to the film Matilda (2017) with the Mariinsky Orchestra – a story about the relationship between the young future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and the legendary ballerina of the Imperial Mariinsky Theatre, Mathilde Kschessinska.
Heine was a co-author of the Mariinsky’s first subscription series for young people - the very popular Academy of Young Theatre-Goers - where he created and conducted special versions of The Tale of Tsar Saltan, Love for Three Oranges and Wagner’s Ring for younger audiences. He served as Artistic Coordinator/Assistant Conductor of the Mariinsky’s New Horizons Festival of Contemporary Music, conducting works by Pierre Boulez, Henri Dutilleux, György Kurtág, Rodion Shchedrin, Vladimir Tarnopolsky and Boris Tishchenko.
Recent events include new productions of Tosca, The Medium and La Cenerentola at the Northern Lights Music Festival in July 2020 and 2021 (Tosca being the first US performance of an opera after the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown), a debut with the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov" at the Moscow Conservatory Great Hall in April 2021, a return to the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden with the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra, conducting Swan Lake and The Nutcracker in December 2021, and a house debut at Opéra de Lausanne with Eugene Onegin in April 2022.
Upcoming events include a company debut with the Royal Ballet at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Swan Lake (May 2022). Heine will conduct a new production of Die Zauberflöte at the Northern Lights Music Festival in July 2022 and returns to Opéra de Lausanne in October/November 2022 for a production of Candide.
“But the main hero of the production was the orchestra, which, even in the absence of Gergiev, painted a vivid picture under the direction of the young American Gavriel Heine: expressive and stylish, majestic and tragic. It “spun” its own strikingly gripping saga…”
ALEXANDER MATUSEVICH · OperaNews.ru
"His inspiring way of conducting gave wings to the orchestra, which followed in a pulsating and musically intense manner, presenting this entertaining work with aliveness and drive to an enthusiastic audience."
PAUL SCHORNO · Basellandschaftliche Zeitung
"Most spectacular is the American Gavriel Heine. [...] Penetrating eyes, a stickless hand-ballet with fingers that pluck the sound from the air - he is a conductor with pronounced charisma, who wants a lot, and also gets it."
FRITS VAN DER WAA • De Volkskrant
Photo: Bassel Jadaa
Photo: Bassel Jadaa
Photo: Bassel Jadaa
Photo: Bassel Jadaa
"The tempi throughout the ballet are nigh on perfect, considerate to the dancers yet full of urgency when necessary, and the Mariinsky orchestra under the intelligent baton of Gavriel Heine produces ravishing individual and collective sound. I pray that one day Heine will conduct ballet at Covent Garden."
MIKE DIXON • Dance Europe