Gavriel Heine, one of the most exciting and multifaceted conducting talents of his generation, is now in his thirteenth season as resident conductor of the world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and also holds, since 2011, the title of General Music Director of Northern Lights Festival Opera in Minnesota, USA. He has previously served as Principal Guest Conductor/Acting Music Director of the Kharkov 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 has conducted well over 600 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, 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 conducted rehearsals with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra in The Netherlands as assistant conductor to Valery Gergiev.
His operatic repertoire includes Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Die Zauberflöte; Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia; Verdi’s Macbeth, La forza del destino and Otello, Puccini’s La bohème, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, and Il Trittico; Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci; Bizet’s Carmen; Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin; Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tale of the Tsar Saltan; Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges; Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande; Léhar’s Die lustige Witwe; Janacek’s Jenůfa; Ravel’s L’heure Espagnole; Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle; Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Menotti's The Medium, amongst others. His equally varied ballet repertoire includes The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Sylvia, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Firebird, Petrushka, Rite of Spring, Apollo, Le Spectre de la Rose, The Swan, Jewels, Bambi/In the Jungle, Chopiniana, Carnaval, Scheherazade, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda, Symphony in C, Paquita, La Bayadère, Inside the Lines, Serenade, Push Comes to Shove and Le jeune homme et la mort.
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 and The Medium. Additionally, he has 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, and Anton Pimonov’s Bambi/In the Jungle. 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), and most recently led a revival of Balanchine’s Serenade and the Russian premiere of Twyla Tharp’s Push Comes to Shove at the XVIII Mariinsky International Ballet Festival.
Gavriel Heine and Valery Gergiev share conducting credits on the soundtrack recording of Marco Beltrami's score to the film Matilda (released in 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 a debut at Mexico’s Palacio de Bellas Artes conducting Verdi’s Otello in July 2019, a return to The Kennedy Center and the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa with the Mariinsky Ballet in October 2019, a return to the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden with the Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra, conducting Sleeping Beauty and Jewels, a debut at Opéra de Lausanne, conducting Bernstein’s Candide in March 2020 (cancelled/rescheduled) and new productions of Tosca and The Medium at the Northern Lights Music Festival in July 2020 - Tosca being the first US performance of an opera since the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020.
Upcoming events include a return to the Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra in Kazan to open the X International Concordia Festival of Contemporary Music in November 2020 and a debut at Teatro Colón with La Bayadère in December 2020. Cancelled productions of Candide and Eugene Onegin at Opéra de Lausanne have been rescheduled for 2022.
“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