St. Petersburg Philharmonic OrchestraMore Info
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Russia's oldest symphonic ensemble, was
founded in 1882. In that year, on the order of Alexander III, the Court Musical Choir was
established-the prototype of today's Honored Collective of the Russian Federation. In 2007,
the orchestra celebrated its 125th anniversary. The Musical Choir was founded to perform in
the royal presence-at receptions and official ceremonies and at the balls, plays, and
concerts at the Royal Court. The pinnacle of this type of activity was the participation of
the choir in 1896 in the coronation ceremony of Nicholas II. In 1897, the choir became the
Court Orchestra, its musicians having been transferred from the military and given the same
rights as other actors of royal theaters. In the early 20th century, the orchestra was
permitted to perform at commercial concerts for the general public.
In 1917, the Court Orchestra became the State Orchestra, and following a decree in 1921,
it was incorporated into the newly founded Petrograd Philharmonic, the first of its kind in
the country. Shortly afterwards, an unprecedented number of great Western conductors began
to conduct the orchestra. Their names enjoy unquestioned authority in today's musical
world: Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Felix Weingartner, and many more. On the initiative of
foreign conductors, the orchestra began to play modern repertoire-Stravinsky, Schoenberg,
Berg, Hindemith, Honegger, Poulenc, and others-and continued to premiere the music of
contemporary Russian composers.
The 2010-2011 season opened with concerts in Annecy at the Crescendo Festival, dedicated
to the Year of Russia in France, and in December was included in the 11th International
Winter Festival "Arts Square" dedicated to the Year of France in Russia. The orchestra also
tours France, Asia, and the US.
Yuri Temirkanov became the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the St. Petersburg
Philharmonic Orchestra in 1988. He regularly performs in St. Petersburg with the
Philharmonic and, with his great leadership and artistic vision, has toured the
Philharmonic throughout the world, firmly establishing it as one of the most important
orchestras today. In 2005, Mr. Temirkanov and the orchestra performed for the UN General
Assembly in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Under Mr.
Temirkanov's direction, the Philharmonic became the first Russian orchestra to perform the
opening night concert of a Carnegie Hall season in 2005.
A graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory, Mr. Temirkanov is one of the most sought-after
conductors of his generation. In 1976, he became the artistic director and chief conductor
of the Kirov (now Mariinsky) Theatre. While there, he created classic productions of
Prokofiev's War and Peace, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and Queen of
Spades, Petrov's Peter I, and Schedrin's Dead Souls. Mr. Temirkanov
also initiated symphony concerts by the theatre's orchestra both in Russia and
In 1978, Mr. Temirkanov worked for the first time with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
and in 1992 became its chief conductor. From 1992 until 1997, he was also principal guest
conductor of the Dresdner Philharmoniker. In 1998, he moved from the Royal Philharmonic to
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, where he remains principal guest conductor. For six
seasons (2000-2006), Mr. Temirkanov was the chief conductor of the Baltimore Symphony
Orchestra; from 2007-2008, he was the principal guest conductor of The Bolshoi Theatre of
Russia. For the 2009 Nobel Prize ceremony, he was invited to conduct the Royal Stockholm
Philharmonic Orchestra. Mr. Temirkanov is also the Music Director of the Teatro Regio di
Parma (Italy) through 2013.