Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival, which started in 1996 as a concert series, grew into a full-fledged music festival. The big successes of the first decade were the 2001 edition to spotlight Shostakovich and his War Symphonies, Prokofiev in 2003, and later on Tchaikovsky, Wagner and Strauss.
In 2006, the focus shifted from specific composers to themes, which allowed to place the music in a wider context. These included the Night of Love, Heaven and Earth, Eternal Youth and a festival triptych about Rotterdam: Resurrection, Sea & the City and Sea & You.
In 2014, for three days, the theme was the First World War. Valery Gergiev conducted works by no fewer than 12 composers from Ravel to Janácek, giving a unique picture of the years before, during and after WW1. Nobody was left unmoved.
In 2015, the Festival will consist of five concerts, including late night and marathon programs with a focus on the many faces of Rachmaninov, a quintessential Russian composer.