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Russian Conductor Svetlanov Dies

Yevgeny Svetlanov, a renowned conductor who specialized in works by Russian composers, has died at age 73, news reports said Saturday. Svetlanov died at his home Friday in Moscow, NTV television reported.

President Vladimir Putin wrote in a message to Svetlanov’s wife, Nina, that the musician’s death was an “irreplacable loss for all of our culture.”

Svetlanov was the chief conductor of the Bolshoi Theater from 1963 to 1965, when he was named artistic director and chief conductor of the Soviet State Symphony.

He was named a People’s Artist of the Soviet Union in 1968 and was awarded the Lenin prize in 1972 and the Order of Lenin 1978. He was given the Soviet State prize for creative achievement in 1983.

Two years ago, he was dismissed from his post conducting the State Symphony Orchestra after Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi said he was spending too much time conducting overseas.

For the past two years, he has been an honorary conductor at the Bolshoi and has been a guest conductor of orchestras around the world, spending much of his time in the Netherlands.

Svetlanov was known in the music world as a leading interpreter of Russian symphony, ballet and opera.

Svetlanov was born in the Soviet Union in 1928. In 1951, he graduated from the Gnesin Institute of Music, and was known for his interpretations as a pianist. He moved on to composing and conducting, graduating from the Moscow Conservatory in 1955 as a pianist, composer and conductor.

Svetlanov will be buried at Moscow’s Vagankovo Cemetery following a funeral service Tuesday, and a service will also be held at the Bolshoi Theater, the Ministry of Culture told the ITAR-Tass news agency.

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