St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra-Russia's first symphony orchestra-traces its
history to 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,
Bruckner's Ninth Symphony, Scriabin's Poem of Ecstasy, and Stravinsky's Symphony in E-flat
Major for the first time in Russia. In those years, the orchestra was conducted by Arthur
Nikisch, Richard Strauss, Alexander Glazunov, and Serge Koussevitzky. Beginning in 1921,
the orchestra made its home at the Nobility Assembly Hall, where it welcomed such
conductors as Bruno Walter, Felix Weingartner, Hermann Abendroth, Oskar Fried, Erich
Kleiber, Pierre Monteux, and Otto Klemperer, as well as soloists Vladimir Horowitz and
Jascha Heifetz. Shostakovich and Prokofiev also performed with the orchestra.
In 1934, the orchestra was awarded the title Honored Orchestra of the Republic, and in
1938, it began a half-century that is referred to as the "Age of Mravinsky"-years of hard
work with maestro Evgeny Mravinsky that earned the orchestra a place among the most
prominent of the world. Since 1946-which marked the orchestra's first historical trip
abroad-the St. Petersburg Philharmonic has regularly toured internationally.
Since 1988, Yuri Temirkanov has led the orchestra. Recently, the orchestra has been ranked
in the top 20 orchestras in the world (according to Gramophone magazine); has toured
Europe, Asia, and America; and participated in the Lucerne Festival, Festival
Internazionale della Musica Torino Milano, Verbier Festival, and Annecy Classic
Yuri Temirkanov, artistic director of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, celebrates
a double anniversary during the 2013-2014 season: his 75th birthday and his 25th year as
conductor of the celebrated orchestra.
Mr. Temirkanov is recognized as one of the leaders of the world's conducting elite, and
famous orchestras around the globe have been inviting the maestro to collaborate with them
for more than three decades. From 1979-1998, Mr. Temirkanov worked with London's Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra, at first as principal guest conductor and from 1992 onward as
principal conductor. He also directed the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (2000-2006) and was
principal guest conductor of the Dresdner Philharmonie (1992-1997) and the Danish National
Symphony Orchestra (1998-2008).
However, Mr. Temirkanov's home has always been and still remains St. Petersburg. In 1967,
as a graduate of the Leningrad Conservatory (having studied with Ilya Musin) and as the
winner of the All-Union Conductors' Competition, he performed in the Grand Hall of the
Philharmonia for the first time. A year later, the 29-year-old Temirkanov conducted the
Leningrad Symphony Orchestra (now the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra). Collaboration
strengthened the reputation of both the conductor and the orchestra, and in 2005, the St.
Petersburg Philharmonic became the first Russian orchestra to open Carnegie Hall's concert
Mr. Temirkanov believes that the life of a musician is not confined to the concert stage
and has therefore established the Maestro Temirkanov International Foundation for Cultural
Initiatives. Among the foundation's projects are the Evgeny Kolobov Foundation for
musicians of the Moscow New Opera Theater, as well as scholarships for students of the St.
Petersburg Conservatory and the Central Special Music School.
For more than a decade, Mr. Temirkanov has directed the Arts Square Winter Festival, which,
along with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, involves the Mikhailovsky Theatre,
the St. Petersburg Theater of Musical Comedy, and the Russian Museum. Unique in its
concept, the festival gathers artists of the highest caliber, confirming the status of St.
Petersburg as one of the cultural capitals of Europe.