St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Russia, 2020

Tour Dates: 3rd September - 13th September, 2020

The more than 130-year history of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, according to foreign reviews, “is among the world’s elite and...

Tour Dates
  • 3rd September - 13th September, 2020


St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra:

The more than 130-year history of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, according to foreign reviews, “is among the world’s elite and, without a doubt, historically the most important orchestra in Russia”, began with the decree of Alexander III on 16 July 1882, which initiated the creation of the Court Choir. Transformed into the Court Orchestra at the beginning of the XX century, for the first time in Russia, the orchestra performed the symphonic poems “Ein Heldenleben“ and “Also sprach 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 removed from 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”, and in 1926 – Shostakovich’s First Symphony. In 1934, the orchestra – the first in the country – was awarded the title Honoured Ensemble of Russia.

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. In fact, a tradition of an original interpretation of famous scores was born. Music of the twentieth century as a whole assumed a significant role in the orchestra’s repertoire. Alternating as the second conductor of the orchestra were K. Sanderling, A. Jansons and M. Jansons; at the podium were L. Stokowski, L. Maazel, Z. Mehta, K. Masur, E. Svetlanov, G. Rozhdestvensky and composers B. Britten, A. Copland, Z. Kodály, 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. Lyubimov.

Since 1988, Yuri Temirkanov has headed the orchestra. From year to year, the results of the musicians’ collaboration receive enthusiastic press reviews. “The orchestra is a Russian national treasure, conductor Yuri Temirkanov one of the best in the world” (The Washington Post, 2014). “If the St Petersburg Philharmonic’s all-Russian first Prom was a hard act to follow, its second, also under chief conductor Yuri Temirkanov, brought yet another feast of idiomatic Russian playing” (The Guardian, 2015). “This is a unique orchestra with a special, “Leningrad” sound ...” (Codalario, 2016). “The performance of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony was “the culmination of that high, Petersburg sound culture, for which the St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is famous. (...) A brilliant scherzo and a spectacular, technically perfect finale brought the audience into a total frenzy, which is completely natural: a grandiose sound fresco appeared before it, which hardly any other conductor or orchestra in the world could create” (Corriere della sera, 2017). “No matter what was happening in Russia over the last thirty years, this orchestra has always remained in the top-ranking categories” (Gregor Tessie., 2019).

Over the past season, the orchestra's busy touring activities included concerts at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Paris (where the St Petersburg Philharmonic is the only Russian resident orchestra) and the Vienna Musikverein (three evenings), at the Berlin, Munich, Elbe, and Luxembourg Philharmonias; the Frankfurt Alte Oper, Royal Festival Hall in London, Edinburgh Asher Hall, Manchester Bridgewater Hall and Leeds City Hall; Victoria Hall in Geneva, Catalan Music Palace in Barcelona and Santa Cecilia Hall in Rome (three evenings), Tokyo Santori Hall (two evenings), the Taipei National Concert Hall, the Seoul Arts Center, the Beijing National Performing Arts Center and the Grand Hall of the Moscow Conservatory. Last season, the orchestra took part in the Lucerne Festival and opened the X International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival in Moscow.

In the 2019/2020 Season, the orchestra is scheduled to tour in Italy, Switzerland, Romania, France, Estonia, Japan, South Korea, Germany and the Czech Republic, as well as a concert in Moscow. The St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra will take part in the MITO SettembreMusica Festival, the George Enescu Festival and the XI International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival.

The orchestra’s repertoire is constantly updated with new, including modern compositions – among them they have performed for the first time in Russia: “Interrupted song” by Nono, the First Symphony “The Triumph of Heaven” and fantasy “Wunderbare Leiden” by Borisova-Ollas, the nocturne “Sur le meme accord” and “La nuit etoilée” by Dutilleux, and the Piano Concerto “Century Rolls” by Adams, as well as Giya Kancheli’s “Letters to Friends”.

Planned for the new Season are: Mahler’s Symphonies Nos. 1, 5 and 7; Bruckner’s Nos. 7 and 8, Brahms’ Piano Quartet No. 1 orchestrated by Schoenberg; Violin Concertos by Stravinsky and Khachaturian, Bartok’s “Miraculous Mandarin” Suite and Taneyev’s Concert Suite for Violin and Orchestra, and Penderecki’s “Metamorphoses” for Violin and Orchestra (in honor of the composer’s 85th birthday), Ustvolskaya’s Symphony No. 1 and Weinberg’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (in honor of the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birthday), “Babylon-Suite” by Jörg Widmann (Russian premiere) and “The Frescoes of Piero della Francesca” by Bohuslav Martinů (both compositions presented within the “Dialogues on Art” Subscription Series, in conjunction with The State Hermitage).

Among the invited conductors of the 2019/2020 Season are the Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra, Ch. Dutoit, as well as I. Marin, V. Sinaisky, M. Jurowski, J. Hirokami, V. Petrenko, D. Liss, Y.-P. Tortelier, M. Sanderling, F. Korobov, A. Buribayev, P. Bubelnikov, A. Titov and others. Among the soloists are pianists D. Matsuev, B. Berezovsky, M. Kultyshev, N. Lugansky, R. Buchbinder, E. Virsaladze, F. Say, A. Volodin; violinists N. Borisoglebsky, B. Belkin, G. Kremer, E. Tjeknavorian, A. Rozhdestvensky, S. Khachatryan, V. Gluzman, I. Gringolts, S. Shoji; cellists A. Ionita, A. Kobekina, B. Andrianov; and baritone M. Goerne.

Conductor :Yuri Temirkanov

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

He studied at the Leningrad School for Talented Children and the Leningrad Conservatory, and after winning the All-Soviet Conducting Competition in 1966 toured Europe and the USA with David Oistrakh and the Moscow Philharmonic.

He made his debut with the SPPO in 1967, then joined 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.

Maestro Temirkanov has appeared with leading European orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and La Scala, Milan.

In 1979  he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and was then Principal Conductor from 1992-1998. Other positions include Principal Guest Conductor, Dresden Philharmonic (1992-1997); Principal Guest Conductor, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (1998-2008); Music Director, Baltimore Symphony (2000-2006); Principal Guest Conductor, Bolshoi Theatre (until 2009), and Music Director, Teatro Regio di Parma (2010-2012).

Recordings include collaborations with the SPPO, New York Philharmonic, Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the RPO.

For 12 days over Christmas Maestro Temirkanov hosts the annual International Winter Festival Arts Square in St Petersburg.

Awards include the Order For Merit for the Country in all four degrees; the Abbiati Prize for Best Conductor (2003, 2007); Conductor of the Year (Italy, 2003);  Honorary Academician of

Santa Cecilia; Commander of the Order of the Star of Italy (2012); the Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli Prize (2014); the Order of the Rising Sun (Japan, 2015); Una vita nella musica Prize (Italy), and Honorary Conductor of the Academia Santa Cecilia Choir and Orchestra (2015).

Pianist: Nikolai Lugansky

Nikolai Lugansky is a pianist who combines elegance and grace with powerful virtuosity, a true incarnation of the Russian tradition on the international classical stage. Recognised as a master of Russian and late romantic repertoire, Lugansky is renowned for his interpretations of Rachmaninov, Prokofiev, Chopin and Debussy. He has received numerous awards for recordings and artistic merit.

He regularly works with top level conductors such as Yuri Temirkanov, Kent Nagano, Charles Dutoit, Mikhail Pletnev, Gianandrea Noseda and Vladimir Jurowski. Concerto highlights for the 2019/20 season include performances with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra in London, National Symphony Orchestra in Washington D.C., Luzerner Sinfonieorchester, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

A regular recitalist the world over, during this season Lugansky appears at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Konzerthaus, the Tonhalle in Zurich, Moscow’s Zaryadye, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris and Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon. Lugansky also performs a series of American recitals, including a performance in Chicago, and gives recitals in Florence and Rome as well as numerous performances in Russia. Lugansky regularly performs at the La Roque-d'Anthéron Festival in France, with the last season marking the 23rd consecutive year of appearance.

In June 2019 Nikolai Lugansky received the Russian Federation National Award in Literature and Art, for his contribution to the development and advancement of Russian and international classical music culture over the past 20 years. Lugansky was awarded the honour of People’s Artist of Russia in April 2013, which is the highest honorary title for outstanding achievement in the arts.

In addition to performing, Lugansky has been a professor at the Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory since 1998. He is also the Artistic Director of the Tambov Rachmaninov Festival and is a supporter of, and regular performer at, the Rachmaninov Estate and Museum of Ivanovka.

Described by Gramophone as “the most trailblazing and meteoric performer of all” Nikolai Lugansky is a pianist of extraordinary depth and versatility. He regularly appears at some of the world's most distinguished festivals, including the Aspen, Tanglewood, Ravinia and Verbier festivals.  Chamber music collaborators include Vadim Repin, Alexander Kniazev, Mischa Maisky and Leonidas Kavakos.

Nikolai Lugansky has won several awards for his many recordings. His recital CD featuring Rachmaninov's Piano Sonatas won the Diapason d’Or, whilst his recording of concertos by Grieg and Prokofiev with Kent Nagano and the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin was a Gramophone Editor’s Choice. Lugansky has an exclusive contract with Harmonia Mundi and his recent disc of Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes, released in April 2018, met with enthusiastic reviews.  He was described as having “an ability to enchant the ear… with a deep feeling for the music” (The Financial Times).  His recording of solo piano music by Debussy was released in the 2018 anniversary year.

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