Performance Thursday, October 10, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Mariinsky Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Commissioned by impresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by his Ballets Russes, the ballet scores featured on this program by musical revolutionary Igor Stravinsky all draw from traditional Russian folk motifs, yet exhibit considerable stylistic development from the composer—from the lush musical sorcery found in The Firebird, to the exhilarating musical depiction of physical gestures in Pétrouchka, and the violent musical primitivism found in The Rite of Spring.


  • Mariinsky Orchestra
    Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor


  • STRAVINSKY The Firebird (complete)
  • STRAVINSKY Pétrouchka (1911 version)
  • STRAVINSKY The Rite of Spring

  • Encore:
  • VERDI Overture to La forza del destino

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours and 30 minutes, including two 20-minute intermissions.



    Mariinsky Orchestra

    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 17 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. The following year, the Mariinsky Orchestra opened Carnegie Hall's 2011-2012 season with a cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies, which the ensemble also performed on tour throughout the US and in Canada.

    Maestro Gergiev established the Mariinsky Label in 2009 and has since released more than 15 CDs, including Shostakovich's piano concertos nos. 1 and 2; symphonies nos. 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, and 15; and The Nose. The orchestra has also recorded Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini; Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture; Shchedrin's The Enchanted Wanderer and Piano Concerto No. 5; Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex and Les noces; Wagner's Parsifal; and Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; as well as DVDs/Blu-rays of Tchaikovsky's symphonies nos. 4, 5, and 6 and George Balanchine's ballet Jewels. Releases for 2012 include Massenet's Don Quichotte.

    Valery Gergiev 

    A prominent figure in all the world's major concert halls, Valery Gergiev is the artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg, and since 1988 has taken the Mariinsky ballet, opera, and orchestra ensembles to more than 45 countries, garnishing universal acclaim. Maestro Gergiev's 25 years of leadership have also resulted in the building of the Mariinsky Concert Hall (2006) and the new Mariinsky II theater (2013) alongside the classic Mariinsky Theatre.

    Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2007, Mr. Gergiev performs with the LSO at the Barbican Centre, BBC Proms, and Edinburgh International Festival, as well as on extensive tours of Europe, North America, and Asia. In July 2013, he led the inaugural international tour of the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America, an orchestra founded by Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute. In 2016, he will assume the post of principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. He also is founder and artistic director of the Stars of the White Nights Festival and the New Horizons Festival in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival, the Mikkeli Music Festival, and the Red Sea Classical Music Festival in Israel, as well as principal conductor of the World Orchestra for Peace.

    Mr. Gergiev's record releases with the Mariinsky Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra continually win awards in Europe, Asia, and America. Recent releases include a Mahler symphony cycle, Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, Massenet's Don Quichotte, Shchedrin's The Enchanted Wanderer, Wagner's Parsifal and Die Walküre, and Shostakovich's Symphony No. 7.

    Mr. Gergiev has led numerous composer-centered concert cycles in New York, London, and other international cities, including ones focused on Berlioz, Brahms, Dutilleux, Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and Wagner. He has introduced audiences around the world to several rarely performed Russian operas.

    Mr. Gergiev's many awards include the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, the Netherlands' Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, and the French Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur.

    More Info


Stravinsky's The Firebird ("Lullaby of the Firebird")
Kirov Orchestra | Valery Gergiev, Conductor

At a Glance

This concert presents all three of Stravinsky's great Russian ballets in chronological sequence, a fascinating journey that allows us to see the transition from late Romanticism to early modernism in the most colorful and theatrical terms possible. Virginia Woolf said that "on or about 1910, human character changed." She was responding to a post-Impressionist art exhibit and how it reflected a huge "change in religion, conduct, politics, and literature." As this concert illustrates, Stravinsky showed us the same revolution in music, beginning with the shimmering magic of The Firebird in 1910, moving through the sardonic bitonality of Pétrouchka a year later, and culminating in the violent primitivism of The Rite of Spring in 1913, a cataclysm of energy and rhythm that changed the course of music but was forecast in both earlier ballets. Hearing all three together is a rare opportunity. Stravinsky himself conducted them at Carnegie Hall in 1940, but he used only a suite version of The Firebird rather than the complete work. He appeared at Carnegie Hall 41 times but never repeated conducting the three ballets. A performance of all three, using the complete version of The Firebird, has never been done.


Program Notes


Carnegie Hall's Jeremy Geffen and David Robertson of the St. Louis Symphony introduce The Firebird and reveal the composers who influenced Stravinsky's complex orchestration.

This performance is part of International Festival of Orchestras II.