Performance Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | 7 PM

Mariinsky Orchestra
Opening Night Gala


Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Yo-Yo Ma has provided Carnegie Hall with some of its most memorable concerts ever, and an appearance by Valery Gergiev and his orchestra is always a one-of-a-kind event. Together, they perform a showstopper by Tchaikovsky—the guest of honor at the very first Opening Night in 1891—as part of this all-Russian program.

Program to be performed without intermission.


  • Mariinsky Orchestra
    Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor
  • Yo-Yo Ma, Cello


  • SHOSTAKOVICH Festive Overture
  • TCHAIKOVSKY Variations on a Rococo Theme
  • RIMSKY-KORSAKOV Scheherazade

  • Encores:
  • TCHAIKOVSKY Andante Cantabile (arr. for Cello and Strings from String Quartet No. 1 in D Major, Op. 11)
  • TCHAIKOVSKY Polonaise from Eugene Onegin


  • 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 15 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. In addition to opening Carnegie Hall's 2011-2012 season, this month the orchestra presents a cycle of Tchaikovsky symphonies on both the East and West coasts and in Canada.

    In 2009 and 2010, the new Mariinsky Label released Shostakovich's The Nose and symphonies nos. 1 and 15, Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 3 and Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Rodion Shchedrin's The Enchanted Wanderer, and Stravinsky's Les noces and Oedipus Rex. Releases in 2011 include Shostakovich's symphonies nos. 2 and 11, and nos. 3 and 10; Wagner's Parsifal; Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; and a DVD/Blu-ray of Tchaikovsky's symphonies nos. 4, 5, and 6, and Balanchine's ballet Jewels.

    Valery Gergiev

    Valery Gergiev's inspired leadership as artistic and general director of the Mariinsky Theatre since 1988 has taken Mariinsky ensembles to 45 countries and has brought universal acclaim to this legendary institution, now in its 229th season.

    At home in St. Petersburg, Maestro Gergiev's leadership has resulted in the new and superb Mariinsky Concert Hall, which opened in November 2006, and the Mariinsky record label, which was launched in 2009. The new Mariinsky Theatre is scheduled to open in 2012; in 2015, the original and classic Mariinsky Theatre (currently celebrating its 151st anniversary) will be renovated to bring its staging facilities up to 21st-century standards.

    Presently principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the World Orchestra for Peace, Maestro Gergiev is also founder and artistic director of the Stars of the White Nights and New Horizons festivals in St. Petersburg, the Moscow Easter Festival, the Gergiev Rotterdam Festival, the Mikkeli International Festival, and the Red Sea Festival in Eilat, Israel.

    Maestro Gergiev is the recipient of a Grammy Award, the Dmitri Shostakovich Award, Golden Mask Award, People's Artist of Russia Award, the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award, Sweden's Polar Music Prize, the Netherlands's Knight of the Order of the Dutch Lion, Japan's Order of the Rising Sun, Valencia's Silver Medal, the Herbert von Karajan Music Prize, and France's Ordre National de la Légion d'honneur.

    In addition to recording for the Mariinsky and LSO Live labels, Maestro Gergiev has recorded extensively for Decca (Universal Classics), and appears on the Philips and Deutsche Grammophon labels.

    More Info

  • Yo-Yo Ma

    Yo-Yo Ma's multifaceted career is testament to his continual search for new ways to communicate with audiences, and to his personal desire for artistic growth and renewal. Whether performing new or familiar works from the cello repertoire, coming together with colleagues for chamber music, or exploring cultures and musical forms outside the Western Classical tradition, Mr. Ma strives to find connections that stimulate the imagination.

    Expanding on this interest, Mr. Ma established the Silk Road Project in 1998 to promote the study of the cultural, artistic, and intellectual traditions along the ancient trade route that stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. By examining the flow of ideas throughout this vast area, the project seeks to illuminate the heritages of the Silk Road countries and identify the voices that represent these traditions today.

    Appointed in 2009 as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's first creative consultant, Mr. Ma serves as a partner to Riccardo Muti to provide collaborative musical leadership and guidance on innovative program development for The Institute for Learning, Access and Training at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and for Chicago Symphony artistic initiatives. The focus of Mr. Ma's work is the transformative power music can have in the lives of individuals, and on increasing the number and variety of opportunities audiences have to experience music in their communities.

    Yo-Yo Ma was born in 1955 to Chinese parents living in Paris. He began to study the cello with his father at age four and soon came with his family to New York, where he spent most of his formative years. Later, his principal teacher was Leonard Rose at The Juilliard School. He sought out a traditional liberal arts education to expand upon his conservatory training, graduating from Harvard University in 1976. He has received numerous awards, including the Avery Fisher Prize (1978), the Glenn Gould Prize (1999), the National Medal of the Arts (2001), the Dan David Prize (2006), the Sonning Prize (2006), the World Economic Forum's Crystal Award (2008), and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2010). Mr. Ma serves as a UN Messenger of Peace and as a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. He has performed for eight American presidents, most recently at the invitation of President Obama on the occasion of the 56th Inaugural Ceremony.

    Mr. Ma and his wife have two children. He plays two instruments, a 1733 Montagnana cello from Venice and the 1712 Davidoff Stradivarius. Visit,, and for more information.

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Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade (The Young Prince and the Young Princess)
Kirov Theater Orchestra / Valery Gergiev, Conductor / Sergei Levitin, Violin

At a Glance

The works on this program are Russian pieces that transcend their national origins. Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme are an homage to 18th-century Classicism, whereas Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite Scheherazade—a landmark in the sound of the modern orchestra—evokes not Russia, but the West’s “orientalist” fantasies of the East. The concert opens with a Soviet celebration piece that is now a favorite around the world.
Program Notes

Gala Details

Honorary Chairmen
The Honorable John R. Beyrle,
Ambassador of the United States to the Russian Federation

His Excellency Sergey I. Kislyak,
Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United States

Gala Co-Chairmen
Mercedes and Sid Bass, Yoko Nagae Ceschina, Frederick Iseman, Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis, Katherine Farley and Jerry I. Speyer, Joan and Sanford I. Weill, Ann Ziff

Gala Corporate Chairman
Dennis M. Nally
Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.

Gala Journal Sponsor
Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s


5:30 PM  
Pre-Concert Reception
Rohatyn Room, Carnegie Hall
7 PM  
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
9 PM  
Post-Concert Gala Dinner
Grand Ballroom, The Waldorf=Astoria

Black Tie 

Attended by more than 600 guests every year,
Carnegie Hall’s Opening Night Gala is a premier event in New York’s cultural and social calendar.

Gala Benefit Tickets

Gala benefit tickets include prime concert seating and the option of attending either a pre-concert reception ($1,000 per person) or a post-concert, black-tie dinner at The Waldorf=Astoria (starting at $1,500 per person).

Please call the Special Events office at 212-903-9679. Please note that exact seating assignments will not be determined until the month of the event.


Opening Night Gala benefit tickets directly support Carnegie Hall’s artistic and education programs.


Opening Night Gala benefit tickets directly support Carnegie Hall’s artistic and education programs.


Black Tie

Price Waterhouse Cooper smaller version
Opening Night Gala Sponsor: PwC

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