Performance Thursday, February 13, 2014 | 8 PM

St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Tracing its storied roots back to 1882, Russia’s oldest symphonic ensemble has set the standard for interpreting Russian repertoire, being lauded as “never short of breathtaking” (San Francisco Chronicle). See for yourself when this outstanding orchestra performs a program that includes Giya Kancheli’s … al Niente, a sonic tapestry of ravishing sounds and silences dedicated to conductor Yuri Temirkanov, as well as Tchaikovsky’s treasured Piano Concerto No. 1 with Denis Kozhukhin and excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s nationalistic opera based on two Russian legends.


  • St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra
    Yuri Temirkanov, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor
  • Denis Kozhukhin, Piano


  • RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Excerpts from The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh (arr. Maximilian Steinberg)
  • GIYA KANCHELI ... al Niente
  • TCHAIKOVSKY Piano Concerto No. 1

  • Encore:
  • GLUCK Melodie from Orfeo ed Euridice (arr. Sgambati)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • 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 Festival.

    Yuri Temirkanov

    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 season.

    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.

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  • Denis Kozhukhin

    Denis Kozhukhin was launched onto the international scene after winning first prize in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels. His previous awards include first place at the Vendome Prize in Lisbon in 2009, and third prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006. Mr. Kozhukhin has appeared at many of the world's most prestigious festivals and concert halls, including the Verbier Festival (where he won the Prix d'Honneur in 2003), Rheingau Musik Festival, Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, Leipzig's Gewandhaus, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and Paris's Théâtre du Châtelet and Auditorium du Louvre.

    Mr. Kozhukhin's 2013-2014 season highlights include performances with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Orchestre National de Belgique, and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. As a recitalist, Mr. Kozhukhin made his debut appearance at the Concertgebouw's Master Pianists series, Zurich's Tonhalle, London's Wigmore Hall, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the Dvořák Prague Festival.

    Born in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in 1986 to a family of musicians, Mr. Kozhukhin began his piano studies at the age of four with his mother. As a boy, he attended the Balakirev School of Music, where he studied under Natalia Fish. From 2000-2007, Mr. Kozhukhin was a pupil at the Madrid's Queen Sofía College of Music, studying with Dimitri Bashkirov and Claudio Martínez Mehner.

    Upon graduating, he received his diploma personally from the Queen of Spain and was named best student in his year. His Cervantes Trio also was twice named best chamber group. After his studies in Madrid, Mr. Kozhukhin was invited to study at Italy's Accademia Internazionale del Pianoforte Lago di Como, where he worked with Fou Ts'ong, Stanislav Yudenitch, Peter Frankl, Boris Berman, Charles Rosen, and Andreas Staier. He completed his studies with Kirill Gerstein in Stuttgart.

    Mr. Kozhukhin is a committed chamber musician and has worked with Leonidas Kavakos, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Julian Rachlin, Radovan Vlatković, Alisa Weilerstein, and the Jerusalem and Pavel Haas quartets.

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Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 (Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso)
St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra | Yuri Temirkanov, Conductor | Denis Matsuev, Piano
RCA Red Seal

At a Glance

This concert presents two rarities and one warhorse in the Russian repertory, each offering strikingly different colors and atmospheres. First, we hear excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov's The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh, a sensual and seductive late opera based on the legend of a vanishing city. Georgian composer Giya Kancheli's … al Niente is a dreamlike contemplation of time and mortality, written in 2000 and dedicated to Yuri Temirkanov. Concluding the concert is Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1, one of the most popular and virtuosic concertos in the repertory, full of soaring melody and thrilling pianistic display—a workout for both soloist and orchestra.
Program Notes
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This performance is part of Concertos Plus, and Great Pianists / Great Orchestras.