Biography

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Conductor Alexander Polishchuk
First Servant Of Music


“He has the ability to find new colours in the palette of sound shades and manages to make them come alive so that even well-known pieces sound new. The conceptual search of the composer, the meticulous work on nuances and style, are admirable.”
Michel Lethiec, Artistic Director of the “Festival Pablo Casals de Prades”


“Being a conductor is the art of knowing when not to disturb the orchestra.”


This classical quote, used by Herbert von Karajan to explain his work, also applies to the Ukrainian-born conductor Alexander Polishchuk, as he does not consider himself a signpost that everyone has to follow. He loves to create art in collaboration with others - a creation process which eventually results in a mutual interpretation which is not forced.


The course for his career was set at the age of six when Polishchuk, the son of a forensic scientist and a journalist, discovered his love for singing, playing the piano and later on conducting choirs. As a teenager, he realized that being a conductor was more to him than just a profession, it became his vocation. The catalyst for this decision was when Polishchuk was asked to prepare an excerpt of Tchaikovsky‘s opera “Eugene Onegin”. The list of his favourite composers is long and varied and includes Russian masters such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Shostakovich as well as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Wagner and Strauss (both Johann and Richard!)


Born in 1960, Alexander Polishchuk initially studied in his native city of Kiev and continued his education as a conductor in St. Petersburg. One of his most influential teachers was the legendary Ilya Musin, the founder of the Leningrad Conducting School, whose students included Valery Gergiev, Semyon Bychkov, and Tugan Sokhiev. In 1988, Polishchuk was a finalist in the “Competition of Young Conductors of the USSR.” After graduating in 1991, he stayed on as assistant to Maestro Musin for two more years – an honour rarely awarded.


Polishchuk was appointed Music Director of the Symphony Orchestra of St. Petersburg in 1991, taking over the State Symphony Orchestra with the same position five years later. He has also been a guest conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre. Polishchuk’s first major breakthrough was in 1999-2000, staging a new production of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” for the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, London. During that time, Polishchuk also performed with the Russian Chamber Orchestra of London at Shell Center, South Bank, St. John’s Smith Square, and at the Royal Festival Hall. In 2001, Polishchuk was appointed Artistic Director and conductor of the Novosibirsk Chamber Orchestra.


In past years, Alexander Polishchuk conducted concerts all over the world, including at the Wiener Musikverein, in Tokyo, Copenhagen, Taiwan, and China, and took part in numerous festivals in Russia, France, and Germany. He also performed with various Opera and Ballet companies: Mariinsky Theatre, Mikhailovsky Theatre - St.Petersburg; as Principal Guest Conductor at National Opera and Ballet House in Kiev, Ukraine; in "Helikon-Opera" (Moscow), Yekaterinburg and Volgograd Theatre etc.. He made new production "Nutckraker" (Tchaikovsky), London; "Dama Pique" (Tchaikovsky), Ulan-Ude and "Aleko" (Rakhmaninov), St.Petersburg.


In 2006, Polishchuk was awarded the title Honoured Artist of the Russian Federation. Since 2008, he has been conductor of the House of Music of St. Petersburg. Polishchuk was a visiting professor at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and since 2013 Polishchuk has held a professorship in conducting at the Saint Petersburg Conservatory.