Performance Wednesday, April 13, 2011 | 8 PM

St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
It’s a uniquely Russian program with an orchestra that “sounds like no other” (The New York Times). It includes Rimsky-Korsakov and his colorful musical recounting of Arabian Nights—a work that set the standard for Russian music for a hundred years after it was composed—and Rachmaninoff’s second piano concerto.


  • Nikolai Lugansky, Piano
  • St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
    Yuri Temirkanov, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor


  • LIADOV Kikimora, Op. 63
  • RACHMANINOFF Piano Concerto No. 2
  • RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Scheherazade

  • Encores:
  • RACHMANINOFF Prelude in G-sharp Minor, Op. 32, No. 12
  • ELGAR Salut d'amour, Op. 12


  • Nikolai Lugansky

    Capable of great refinement and sensitivity in Mozart, Schumann, and Schubert, and breathtaking virtuosity in Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, Nikolai Lugansky is a pianist of extraordinary depth and versatility. Hailed by his former teacher Tatiana Nikolayeva as the "next one" in line in the succession of great Russian pianists, he won the International Tchaikovsky Competition in 1994. He has since gone on to develop a career at the highest level, regularly appearing at concert halls such as Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, Vienna's Musikverein, Zurich's Tonhalle, and Tokyo's Suntory Hall. Working regularly with the top international orchestras including the Orchestre de Paris, Münchner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Russian National Orchestra, Mr. Lugansky collaborates with conductors as distinguished and diverse as Charles Dutoit, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Kent Nagano, Sakari Oramo, Kurt Masur, Vladimir Jurowski, and Emmanuel Krivine.

    Mr. Lugansky returns this season as soloist with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic on its North American tour, in addition to appearances with the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal and the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as solo recitals across the US.

    An acclaimed recording artist, Mr. Lugansky won the Diapason d'Or for his recordings on Warner Classics of Chopin's etudes and preludes, as well as Rachmaninoff's preludes and moments musicaux. He also won an Echo Klassik prize for his 2005 recording of Rachmaninoff's First and Third Piano Concertos. His latest solo release is an all-Chopin recital for Onyx, and last year Deutsche Grammophon released a disc of chamber music recorded together with violinist Vadim Repin, with whom he has developed a long-lasting and fruitful musical partnership.
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  • St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

    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

    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 abroad.

    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.
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Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Op. 35 (IV. Festival At Baghdad. The Sea. The Ship Breaks against a Cliff Surmounted by a Bronze Horseman.)
New York Philharmonic / Yuri Temirkanov, Conductor
BMG Entertainment

At a Glance

ANATOLI LIADOV  Kikimora, Op. 63
Like his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, Anatoli Liadov is celebrated for his orchestration. The fanciful fairy tale behind Kikimora—a strange Russian story about a witch—inspired its strikingly colorful instrumentation.

SERGEI RACHMANINOFF  Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18
Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto offered redemption to the composer, who was disheartened by the poor reception of his First Symphony some years earlier. Its lush, romantic, and memorable tunes, one of which became a popular song in the 1940s, have made the work one of Rachmaninoff’s most beloved.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade belongs to the European Romantic tradition of programmatic instrumental music (that is, music that tells a story—like Kikimora) as well as the nascent school of Russian nationalist composers known as “The Mighty Handful.” The four-movement work follows the general outlines of a traditional symphony, while obliquely telling the tales of Arabian Nights.

Program Notes