German based Russian-American conductor Mikhail Agrest was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He began studying violin in his native city and upon immigrating to the USA received a degree in violin performance from Indiana University (Bloomington) where he studied with Josef Gingold. Following his true passion in music, he returned to Russia to study conducting with the legendary Ilya Musin and was the last student of the late Mariss Jansons at the St. Petersburg Conservatory.
From 2001 to 2014, he honed his craft as a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre acquiring a considerable repertoire of operatic, symphonic and ballet works. Here he collaborated with several generations of renowned dancers such as Ulyana Lopatkina, Diana Vishneva, Svetlana Zakharova, Zhanna Ayupova, Maya Dumchenko, Veronika Part, Viktoria Tereshkina, Alina Somova and Oxana Skorik to name a few.
In 2013, Mikhail Agrest first appeared as a Guest Conductor with the Stuttgart Ballet, conducting The Rite of Spring and The Four Temperaments. Between December 2018 and assuming the position of Music Director of the Stuttgart Ballet in September 2020, he conducted a revival of John Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, performances of John Neumeier’s Lady of the Camelias and the Stuttgart Premiere of Kenneth MacMillan’s Mayerling in Stuttgart. In 2021 Mr. Agrest conducted the premiere of Source, a new creation by Edward Clug for the Stuttgart Ballet.
On the international stage, he has been invited to conduct at prestigious orchestras and opera houses for both ballet and opera, including the Royal Opera House (Covent Garden); the English, Finnish and Swedish national operas; Opera Australia, Teatro Massimo Palermo, Teatro San Carlo, Napoli and Scottish National Opera. On the concert platform Mr. Agrest has conducted Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Staatskapelle Dresden, Danish National Orchestra; the London, St. Petersburg, Dresden, Netherlands, Helsinki, Stockholm, Taiwan, Seoul and Bremen philharmonic orchestras; Seattle, Vancouver, Houston, BBC orchestras and Svetlanov symphony orchestra, among others.
Mr. Agrest’s interpretations have been praised for imagination, sense of orchestral colors, clarity of texture, poetry, lyricism, passion and sense of drama.
In the 2022-23 season in addition to his commitments at the Stuttgart Ballet, Mr. Agrest will focus on Ukrainian Symphonic Music, make debuts with the Bayerisches Staatsballett as well as the Paris Opera Ballet, and will return to the Finnish National Ballet and Staatsoper Hannover.
Drawing inspiration from nature, he enjoys strolling in the hills and vineyards around Stuttgart and mushroom hunting in the Black Forest with his beagle Dorabella.