In 1979 he became music director of the Oslo Philharmonic
. Under his leadership it came to international attention as one of the finest and most exciting of major world orchestras. In 1985 he was promoted to principal conductor of the Leningrad Philharmonic
under music director Yuri Temirkanov
. Jansons has conducted both great orchestras on several international tours to great acclaim. After the fall of the Soviet State, as Russia's second city reverted to its original name, the Leningrad Philharmonic
was renamed the St. Petersburg Philharmonic
. He conducted it in Europe, North America, and Japan, and led the Oslo Philharmonic
on tours to even more music centers of Europe, the U.S., and Japan.
He has guest conducted many of the world's major orchestras. For Chandos Records
he led the Oslo orchestra in a complete Tchaikovsky
symphony cycle, and led many Shostakovich
symphonies for EMI
. His reputation is particularly strong as a conductor of great twentieth century symphonic classics, including composers such as Bartók
, and Mahler
. His recording of Shostakovich
's Seventh Symphony with the Leningrad Philharmonic
won an Edison Award in 1989.
In 1995, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
announced Jansons' appointment as its eighth music director, effective in 1996. He has led it on successful tours, including a five-city, seven-concert tour of Japan in 1998, a tour of west coast U.S. cities, and an international tour in 1999.
In 1995 King Harald V of Norway appointed Jansons Commander with Star of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, the highest Norwegian honor ever given to a person not of Norwegian descent, for his services to Norway as director of the Oslo Philharmonic
. He was given honorary membership in Britain's Royal Academy of Music in 1999 and in Vienna's Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in 2001. In 2003, he was named chief conductor of the Bayerischer Rundfunk Orchestra
and the chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
in 2002. Jansons also conducted the Vienna Philharmonic
for its annual New Year's Concert in January 2006, and returned to the podium in 2012 and 2016 to lead the holiday festivities.