Russian-born world-famous pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy (born 1937).
Defected to the West in 1963. Known for his virtuoso technique, intellect, and sensivity in performance. Music Director of the Royal Philharmonic, London 1987-1994, of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1989. 1998-2003 Chief Conductor of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, Music Director of NHK Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo (2004-2007), and Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 2009.
Alongside these positions, Ashkenazy has had a longstanding relationship with the Philharmonia Orchestra of which he was appointed Conductor Laureate in 2000. He also hold the positions of Music Director of the European Union Youth Orchestra, and Conductor Laureate of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra.