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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Mariinsky Orchestra

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 8 PM Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
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Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev
Sumptuous orchestration, pianistic pyrotechnics, and acerbic wit highlight an evening of Russian music that spans the Imperial and Soviet eras. Scriabin’s obsession with mysticism and sensory stimulation form the core of his lushly scored Symphony No. 3, “The Divine Poem.” Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2 offers its share of dazzling orchestration and a taxing role for the pianist. Soviet authorities expected grandiose display in the tradition of other famous ninth symphonies, but Shostakovich instead juxtaposed the tragic and comic, including a breathlessly giddy finale, in his post-war work.

Part of: International Festival of Orchestras I


Mariinsky Orchestra
Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
Denis Matsuev, Piano


PROKOFIEV Piano Concerto No. 2
SCRIABIN Symphony No. 3, "The Divine Poem"

RACHMANINOFF Étude-tableau in A Minor, Op. 39, No. 2
PROKOFIEV Precipitato from Piano Sonata No. 7 in B-flat Major, Op. 83
VERDI Overture to La forza del destino

Event Duration

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

VTB Bank, Yoko Nagae Ceschina, and Sberbank are the Global Partners of the Mariinsky Theatre.

Mariinsky Foundation of America is the North American Sponsor.

The Mariinsky Orchestra’s performance is supported by ALROSA.

At a Glance

This unusual and colorful concert presents three 20th-century Russian works with wildly different styles. Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony is the wittiest and most Haydnesque of his 15 works in the genre, a delightful relief from the gloom and turbulence of his more serious works, yet still denounced by the Soviets for its “ideological weaknesses.” Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto is his most spectacular virtuoso vehicle for his own career as a concert pianist—so much so that he had trouble playing it. It is in his saucy, “modern” pre-Soviet style, yet its main theme is wistful and Romantic, almost like early Scriabin, whose infrequently performed Third Symphony concludes the program. Subtitled “The Divine Poem,” this is Scriabin’s longest and most ambitious orchestral work, the moment when he found his distinctive voice and transitioned from a lyrical, late–19th-century Romantic composer to a mystical visionary who invented a new language of music as a medium for transcendental experience.


Mariinsky Orchestra

The Mariinsky Orchestra enjoys a long and distinguished history as one of the oldest musical institutions in Russia. Its history dates back to the first orchestra of the St. Petersburg Imperial Opera Orchestra, covering a period of more than 200 years. Housed in St. Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theatre since 1860, the orchestra now also performs in its superb 21st-century Concert Hall (2006) and its second opera house, Mariinsky II (2013), built for modern stage technologies.

Following the orchestra's "golden age" in the second half of the 19th century under the musical direction of Eduard Nápravník, numerous internationally famed musicians have conducted the orchestra, among them Hans von Bülow, Felix Mottl, Felix Weingartner, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Otto Nikisch, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Willem Mengelberg, Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, and Erich Kleiber.

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 and the success of the orchestra's frequent tours have 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; the San Francisco Opera; the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris; the Salzburg Festival; and La Scala in Milan.

Since its US debut in 1992, the Mariinsky Orchestra has made 18 tours of North America, including a 2006 celebration of the complete Shostakovich symphonies; a cycle of Prokofiev's stage works in 2008; Prokofiev's complete piano concertos with Daniil Trifonov, George Li, Alexander Toradze, Sergei Redkin, and Sergei Babayan in February 2016; major works of Berlioz in February and March 2010; and a centennial Mahler cycle at Carnegie Hall in October 2010. In October 2011, the orchestra opened Carnegie Hall's 120th season with a cycle of Tchaikovsky's symphonies, which it also performed throughout the US and Canada.

Mr. Gergiev established the Mariinsky Label in 2009 and has since released more than 30 recordings that have received critical acclaim in Europe, Asia, and the US.

Valery Gergiev

Valery Gergiev is artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre, principal conductor of the Munich Philharmonic and World Orchestra for Peace, chair of the organizing committee of the International Tchaikovsky Competition, honorary president of the Edinburgh International Festival, and dean of the Faculty of Arts at the St. Petersburg State University. In addition, he is founder and artistic director of such international festivals as Stars of the White Nights (St. Petersburg), Moscow Easter Festival, Rotterdam Philharmonic Gergiev Festival, Mikkeli Music Festival, and Munich’s 360 Degrees.

Mr. Gergiev has led numerous cycles of works by composers who include Berlioz, Brahms, Dutilleux, Mahler, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky in New York, London, Paris, and other international cities. He also has introduced audiences around the world to rarely performed Russian operas. He staged a production of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in the original German—the first such production in Russian history—and led that production in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, and London. He also champions contemporary Russian composers, including Rodion Shchedrin, Boris Tishchenko, Sofia Gubaidulina, Alexander Raskatov, and Alexander Smelkov.

The Mariinsky Label, established in 2009, has released more than 30 discs and DVDs to date to worldwide acclaim. Recordings include symphonies and piano concertos by Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich; operas by Wagner, Massenet, and Donizetti; and Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella ballets, and The Gambler and Semyon Kotko operas. Recent releases include Shchedrin’s The Left-Hander (DVD), and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and Symphony No 4.

Principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) from 2007 to 2015, Mr. Gergiev has performed with the LSO, Mariinsky Orchestra, and Munich Philharmonic on extensive tours of Europe, North America, and Asia. He also collaborates with the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, New York Philharmonic, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Since 2013, Mr. Gergiev has conducted the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America on two European tours, and regularly appears with the youth orchestras of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Verbier Festival, and Pacific Music Festival in Japan.

Denis Matsuev

Denis Matsuev has enjoyed a stellar career since his triumphant victory in the 11th International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow and is now one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation. He appears regularly with world-famous orchestras such as the Chicago, Pittsburgh, London, and BBC symphony orchestras; New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; The Philadelphia Orchestra; Royal Concertgebouw, Leipzig Gewandhaus, and Mariinsky orchestras; Berliner Philharmoniker; and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Of particular note, he has performed as soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra since 1995.

Since 2004, Mr. Matsuev has organized the Stars on the Baikal festival in Irkutsk. The following year, he became artistic director of the Crescendo music festival, and in 2010, he was named artistic director of the Annecy Music Festival. He also serves as artistic director of the Astana Piano Passion Festival and the Moscow Grand Piano Competition, and is the president of the charitable Russian foundation New Names, which supports music education programs for children. Mr. Matsuev has collaborated with the Sergei Rachmaninoff Foundation, performing and recording unknown pieces by Rachmaninoff on the composer's own piano at his house in Lucerne, known as Villa Senar.

Mr. Matsuev is the recipient of awards that include the prestigious Shostakovich Prize and the State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Arts. He also has been named a People's Artist of Russia and an honorary professor of Moscow State University. He is a member of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art (Russia) and an Honored Artist of Russia, and he recently became the head of the Public Council under the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation.

In April 2014, Mr. Matsuev was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador; two years later, he was announced as a FIFA World Cup Russia Ambassador. In 2017, he was awarded the Order of Honour as well as the Prize of the Government of the Russian Federation for his Stars on the Baikal festival.

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