St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra



Artistic Director and Chief Conductor

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.

He 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 All-Soviet Conducting Competition in 1966, Yuri Temirkanov was invited by Kirill Kondrashin to tour Europe and the USA with David Oistrakh and the Moscow Philharmonic.

Yuri Temirkanov made his debut with the St Petersburg Philharmonic in 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.

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

In 1977, he was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and 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 and from 1998 to 2008 Principal Guest Conductor of the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. He was the Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony 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 Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic.

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

Maestro Temirkanov has been awarded the Order “For Merit for the Country” of all the four degrees. 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.

Artistic Director and Chief Conductor

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 1882, when Alexander III had decreed the establishment of the Imperial Music Choir. Transformed into the Court Orchestra at the beginning of the 20th century, for the first time in Russia, the orchestra performed the symphonic poem "Ein Heldenleben" and "Thus spake Zarathustra" by R.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 was incorporated into the newly founded Petrograd Philharmonia, the first of its kind in the country. 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.

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. 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; 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, L.Kogan, E.Virsaladze, G.Sokolov, V.Tretyakov, N.Gutman, and V.Spivakov.

Since 1988, Yuri Temirkanov has led the orchestra. Recently, the orchestra has been ranked in the top twenty orchestras in the world (according to Gramophone magazine), has participated in the most prestigious music festivals, added to its resume the season opening of Carnegie Hall and performed the premieres (world, Russian) of the works by Penderecki, Nono, Shchedrin, Tishchenko, and Slonimsky.

The plans for 2015/2016 Season include collaboration with such conductors as K.Nagano, C.Dutoit, D.R.Davies, J.-C.Casadesus, I.Marin, V.Sinaisky, A.Vedernikov, and soloists: Y.Wang, D.Matsuev, E.Virsaladze, N.Lugansky, G.Ohlsson, S.Gabetta, M.Goerne, among others.

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