The Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre enjoys a long and distinguished history as one of
the oldest musical institutions in Russia. Founded in the 18th century during the reign of
Peter the Great and housed in St. Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theatre since 1860, the
orchestra entered its "golden age" in the second half of the 19th century under the musical
direction of Eduard Nápravník, whose leadership for more than a half-century (1863-1916)
secured its reputation as one of the finest in Europe.
Numerous internationally famed musicians have conducted the orchestra, among them Hans von
Bülow, Felix Mottl, Felix Weingartner, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Otto Nikisch, Willem
Mengelberg, Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Erich Kleiber, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner,
Gustav Mahler, and Arnold Schoenberg.
Renamed the Kirov during the Soviet era, the orchestra continued to maintain its high
artistic standards under the leadership of Yevgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov. The
leadership of Valery Gergiev has enabled the Mariinsky Theatre to forge important
relationships for the Mariinsky Ballet and Opera to appear in the world's greatest opera
houses and theaters, among them the Metropolitan Opera; the Kennedy Center in Washington,
DC; the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; San Francisco Opera; Théâtre du Châtelet in
Paris; the Salzburg Festival; and La Scala in Milan.
The success of the orchestra's frequent tours has created the reputation of what one
journalist referred to as "the world's first global orchestra." Since its US debut in 1992,
the orchestra has made 15 tours of North America, including a 2006 celebration of the
complete Shostakovich symphonies, a cycle of Prokofiev's stage works in 2008, major works
of Hector Berlioz in February and March 2010, and a centennial Mahler cycle at Carnegie
Hall in October 2010. In addition to opening Carnegie Hall's 2011-2012 season, this month
the orchestra presents a cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies on both the East and West coasts
and in Canada.
In 2009 and 2010, the new Mariinsky Label released Shostakovich's The Nose and
symphonies nos. 1 and 15, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Rhapsody on a Theme of
Paganini, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Rodion Shchedrin's The Enchanted
Wanderer, and Stravinsky's Les noces and Oedipus Rex. Releases in
2011 include Shostakovich's symphonies nos. 2 and 11, and nos. 3 and 10; Wagner's
Parsifal; Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; and a DVD/Blu-ray of
Tchaikovsky's symphonies nos. 4, 5, and 6, and Balanchine's ballet Jewels.
Valery Gergiev's inspired leadership as artistic and general director of the Mariinsky
Theatre since 1988 has taken Mariinsky ensembles to 45 countries and has brought universal
acclaim to this legendary institution, now in its 229th season.
At home in St. Petersburg, Maestro Gergiev's leadership has resulted in the new and superb
Mariinsky Concert Hall, which opened in November 2006, and the Mariinsky record label,
which was launched in 2009. The new Mariinsky Theatre is scheduled to open in 2012; in
2015, the original and classic Mariinsky Theatre (currently celebrating its 151st
anniversary) will be renovated to bring its staging facilities up to 21st-century
Presently principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the World Orchestra for
Peace, Maestro Gergiev is also founder and artistic director of the Stars of the White
Nights and New Horizons festivals in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Easter Festival, the
Gergiev Rotterdam Festival, the Mikkeli International Festival, and the Red Sea Festival in
Maestro Gergiev is the recipient of a Grammy Award, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, Golden
Mask Award, People's Artist of Russia Award, the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award,
Sweden's Polar Music Prize, the Netherlands's Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion,
Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, Valencia's Silver Medal, the Herbert von Karajan Music
Prize, and France's Ordre National de la Légion d'honneur.
In addition to recording for the Mariinsky and LSO Live labels, Maestro Gergiev has
recorded extensively for Decca (Universal Classics), and appears on the Philips and
Deutsche Grammophon labels.