St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Russia, 2018

Tour Dates: 7th September - 17th September, 2018

The history of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra – according to The Guardian's definition, "one of the greatest and most exciting orchestras...

Tour Dates
  • 7th September - 17th September, 2018


St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

The history of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra – according to The Guardian's definition, "one of the greatest and most exciting orchestras in the world" – began in July 16, 1882, when Alexander III had decreed the establishment of the Imperial Music Choir. Transformed into the Court Orchestra at the beginning of the XX century, for the first time in Russia, the orchestra performed the symphonic poem "The Life of a Hero" and "Thus Spake Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss, Mahler's First Symphony and Bruckner's Ninth Symphony, Scriabin's "Poem of Ecstasy" and Stravinsky's First Symphony.

A. Nikish and R. Strauss conducted the orchestra as well as A. Glazunov, who dedicated the "Festival Overture" to the orchestra. In 1917, the Court Orchestra became the State Orchestra, and was headed by S. Koussevitzky. In 1921, the orchestra, given the hall of the former Noble Assembly at its disposal, opened the country's first Philharmonia. The unprecedented in scale activities of the orchestra drew a new and sometimes far from the classical music audience to its Grand Hall. Outstanding Russian musicians underwent a rigorous test of their conducting skills with the orchestra. Such legendary Western conductors as B. Walter, F. Weingartner, G. Abendroth, O. Fried, E. Kleiber, P. Monteux and O. Klemperer; soloists V. Horowitz and S. Prokofiev, performed with the orchestra. The orchestra mastered a vast contemporary repertoire. In 1918, it presented the premiere of Prokofiev's "Classical Symphony", in 1926 – Shostakovich's First Symphony.

In 1934, the orchestra - the first in the country - was awarded the title "Honoured Collective of the Republic." 1938 ushered in a half-century of the "Age of Mravinsky" - years of hard work, which earned the orchestra a place among the most prominent orchestras of the world. In 1946, the orchestra embarked on its first foreign trip – and gave its first overseas performance in the country's symphonic performance history. This was followed by regular tours around the world, performing at the most prestigious European festivals. A unique and creative alliance formed between D. Shostakovich and E. Mravinsky, to whom the composer devoted the Eighth Symphony. The conductor and the orchestra performed five Shostakovich's symphonies for the first time.

Along with the music of the twentieth century, the orchestra's repertoire included works by old masters. Alternating as the second conductor of the orchestra were K. Sanderling, A. Jansons and M. Jansons; at the podium were L. Stokowsky, L. Maazel, Z. Mehta, K. Mazur, E. Svetlanov, G. Rozhdestvensky and composers B. Britten, A. Copland, Z. Kodaly, W. Lutoslawski, L. Berio, K. Penderecki, and soloists: V. Cliburn, G. Gould, A. Benedetti Michelangeli, I. Stern, S. Richter, E. Gilels, D. Oistrakh, E. Virsaladze, N. Petrov, G. Sokolov, V. Tretyakov, L. Kogan, N. Gutman, V. Krainev, V. Spivakov and A. Lubimov.

Recently, the orchestra has been ranked in the top twenty orchestras in the world (according to Gramophone magazine), has participated in prestigious music festivals, added to its resume the season opening of Carnegie Hall and performed the premieres (world, Russian, St Petersburg) of the works by: Paganini, Berlioz, Penderecki, Nono, Schedrin, Tishchenko, Slonimsky, Desyatnikov and Borisova-Ollas.

Yuri Temirkanov

Since 1988 Yuri Temirkanov has been the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he regularly undertakes major international tours and recordings.

Born in the Caucasus city of Nal'chik, Yuri Temirkanov began his musical studies at the age of nine. When he was thirteen, he attended the Leningrad School for Talented Children where he continued his studies in violin and viola. Upon graduation, he attended the Leningrad Conservatory where he completed his studies in viola and later returned to study conducting, graduating in 1965. After winning the prestigious All-Soviet National Conducting Competition in 1966, Yuri Temirkanov was invited by Kirill Kondrashin to tour Europe and the United States with legendary violinist David Oistrakh and the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra.

Yuri Temirkanov made his debut with the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra (formerly the Leningrad Philharmonic) in early 1967 and was then invited to join the orchestra as Assistant Conductor to Yevgeny Mravinsky. In 1968, he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra where he remained until his appointment as Music Director of the Kirov Opera and Ballet (now the Mariinsky Theatre) in 1976. He remained in this position until 1988 and his productions of Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades have become legendary in the theatre’s history.

Maestro Temirkanov has appeared with leading European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome and La Scala, Milan and others.

After making his London debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in 1977, he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor, and then in 1992 named Principal Conductor, a position he held until 1998. From 1992 to 1997 he was also the Principal Guest Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra and from 1998 to 2008 Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. A regular visitor to the USA, he conducts the major orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco and Los Angeles. He was the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 2000 till 2006, and Principal Guest Conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre until 2009. In 2010 – 2012, he was Music Director of Teatro Regio di Parma.

His numerous recordings include collaborations with the St Petersburg Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestras, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom he recorded the complete Stravinsky ballets and Tchaikovsky symphonies.

For twelve days over the Christmas holiday, Maestro Temirkanov hosts the annual International Winter Festival Arts Square in St Petersburg, Russia. Unique in its concept, the festival gathers artists of the highest caliber, confirming the status of St. Petersburg as one of the cultural capitals of Europe. The 15th festival in December 2014 featured Jonas Kaufmann, Ian Bostridge, Olga Peretyatko and Christian Blackshaw, among others.

Maestro Temirkanov has received many distinguished awards in Russia. He has been awarded the Order “For Merit for the Country” of all the four degrees (1998, 2003, 2008, 2013). In 2003 and 2007, he received the Abbiati Prize for Best Conductor, and in 2003 was named Conductor of the Year in Italy. Recently, he was made an Honorary Academician of Santa Cecilia. In 2012 he was awarded “The Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy”, in 2014 the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize, and in 2015 the “Order of the Rising Sun” (Japan) and “Una vita nella musica” Prize (Italy). In November 2015, Yuri Temirkanov was made the Honorary Conductor of the Academia Santa Cecilia Choir and Orchestra.

Pianist: Boris Berezovsky

Boris Berezovsky is often invited to the most prestigious international recital series in London, Paris, Rome, Zurich, Munich, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Montréal, Vienna, Bern, Budapest and Tokyo; at the Berliner Philharmoniker, Concertgebouw International, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Paris Philharmonie, Royal Festival Hall in London, Palace of Fine Arts in Brussels, Konzerthaus in Vienna, Megaron in Athens… In 2006, he was awarded "Best Instrumentalist of the year" by the BBC Music Magazine Awards.

Boris Berezovsky is regularly invited to numerous Festivals such as the Gstaad, La Roque d'Anthéron, Verbier, Bergamo, Brescia and Salzburg festivals. He is also invited by the most prominent orchestras including the National de France Orchestra, Dallas, Bolchoï and Birmingham Symphony Orchestras, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Munich Philharmonic, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle Orchestra, Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Philharmonic Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra… He performed with conductors such as Antonio Pappano, Yuri Temirkanov, Alexander Vedernikov, Leif Segsertam, Dmitri Kitaenko, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Leonard Slatkin, Dimitri Liss and Kurt Masur…

Boris Berezovsky plays chamber music with Vadim Repin, Julian Rachlin, Alexandre Gindin, Michael Collins, Henri Demarquette, Alexandre Melnikov, Dmitri Makhtin and Alexander Kniazev, and Borodine, Britten, Endellion and Takacs quartets. For many years, he was the faithful partner of Brigitte Engerer, for recordings as well as on stage.

Boris Berezovsky recorded at Teldec Classics International, Philips, Simax and Warner Classics pieces by Chopin, Schumann, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Mussorgsky, Balakirev, Liadov, Tchaïkovsky, Shostakovitch, Medtner, Liszt, Beethoven and Mendelssohn trios with Dmitri Makhtin and Alexander Kniazev. For most of his recordings, he received Diapason d'or, Choc de la Musique, Gramophone, Echo Classic…awards.

In 2014 he was appointed Artistic Director of the "Music of the Earth" Festival in Moscow and St Petersburg.

Born in Moscow in 1969, Boris Berezovsky studied at the Moscow Conservatory with Eliso Virsaladze and privately with Alexander Satz. He made a stunning debut in London in 1988 at the Wigmore Hall and in 1990 won the Gold Medal at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow where he played with Itzhak Perlman, Yo-Yo Ma, Jessye Norman and the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Yuri Temirkanov.

In 1991 Boris Berezovsky made his American debut at Fort Worth in Texas and in France at the Auditorium du Louvre in Paris.

Future highlights in 2016/2017 include recitals at Carnegie Hall in New-York, Royal Festival Hall in London, Beethovenhalle in Bonn, Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, Moscow Conservatory, Bratislava Festival… and tours with St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra and Yuri Temirkanov, Philharmonia Orchestra…

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