Yuri Temirkanov, Direction
Nikolai Lugansky, Piano
L’orchestre Philharmonique de Saint-Petersbourg
The first Russian symphony orchestra traces its history from 1882, when it was founded on the Order of Alexander III, as the Court Musicians’ Choir. At the beginning of the 20th century, the choir 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 Ecstasyand Stravinsky’s First Symphony, for the first time in Russia. In those years, the orchestra was conducted by: A.Nikisch, R.Strauss, A.Glazunov and S.Kussevitsky.
In 1921, the orchestra had at its disposal the former Nobility Assembly Hall and thus the country’s first philharmonic was opened. Such conductors as: B.Walter, F.Weingartner, H.Abendroth, O.Fried, E.Kleiber, P.Monteux and O.Klemperer as well as soloists V.Horowitz, J.Heifetz, Shostakovich and Prokofiev performed with the orchestra. In 1918, the orchestra presented the premiere of Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and in 1926 – the First Symphony by Shostakovich.
In 1934, the orchestra – the first in the country – was awarded the title “Honored orchestra of the Republic.” In 1938, began what is referred to as the beginning of a half-century of the “Age of Mravinsky” – years of hard work earned the orchestra a place amongst the most prominent orchestras of the world. Since 1946, which marked the orchestra’s first historical trip abroad, the orchestra has regularly toured throughout the world. A unique and creative alliance formed between D.Shostakovich and E.Mravinsky, to whom the composer dedicated his Eighth Symphony. Other important pages in the history of the orchestra include a multi-year collaboration with K.Sanderling, A.Jansons and M.Jansons. During these years, the orchestra continued to work with leading conductors and soloists. Among the conductors were K.Kondrashin, E.Svetlanov, I.Markevich, Z.Mehta, L.Maazel, Ch.Munch and Ch.Bruck. Among the soloists were – G.Gould, V.Cliburn, S.Richter, E.Gilels, D.Oistrakh, L.Kogan, I.Stern and I.Menuhin.
Since 1988, Yuri Temirkanov has been leading the orchestra. Recently, the orchestra has been ranked in the top twenty orchestras in the world (according to Gramophone magazine) has toured in Europe, Asia, America, and participated in prestigious music festivals – in Lucerne, MiTo, Verbier and Annecy. At the Grand Hall, the orchestra continues to introduce audiences to composers’ premieres: the works by Penderecki, Nono, Tishchenko, Slonimsky, Segerstam, Obukhov, Korngold, Rota and Desyatnikov. In the ‘Temirkanov Era’, the orchestra has been led by C.-M.Guilini, G.Solti, G.Rozhdestvensky, M.Jansons, K.Nagano, A.Wit, I.Marin, V.Jurowski, V.Sinaysky, I.Metzmacher, Jean-Claude Casadesus, M.Tabachnik and E.Krivine. The names of the soloists are no less sublime: I.Perlman, D.Norman, Yo-Yo Ma, E.Virsaladze, E.Leonskaya, E.Kissin, D.Matsuev, N.Lugansky, V.Feltsman, E.Grimaud, B.Berezovsky, G.Kremer, V.Repin, N.Gutman, M.Maysky, D.Geringas, A.Knyazev and E.Glennie.
“The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is not just the crowning glory of Russian culture, but also the best representative of the State – so it was under the czars, under Soviet rule, and remains so now… Temirkanov has reached such a level of mutual understanding with the orchestra, that it seems to be a continuation of his hands… this orchestra has become an essential worldwide ambassador of the Russian symphonic school”. (Le Figaro, 2013).