Performance Thursday, October 6, 2011 | 8 PM

Mariinsky Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
The Mariinsky Orchestra begins its cycle of Tchaikovsky’s six symphonies with the first and the last. Tchaikovsky wrote his inaugural symphony as his career was blossoming in Moscow, where he took a teaching position at the Moscow Conservatory in 1866. Only days before his death in 1893, Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his “Pathétique” Symphony in his hometown of St. Petersburg, a musical farewell to the city from which he drew musical sustenance.


  • Mariinsky Orchestra
    Valery Gergiev, Music Director and Conductor


  • Symphony No. 1, "Winter Daydreams"
  • Symphony No. 6, "Pathétique"


  • 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


Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathétique" (Allegro molto vivace)
Kirov Theater Orchestra / Valery Gergiev, Conductor

At a Glance

This program presents the beginning and end of Tchaikovsky’s symphonic career. Radically different in mood and sensibility, the two works share Tchaikovsky’s unmistakable sound, his uninhibited Russianness, and his incomparable gift for melody. They also share a sadly typical compositional history:  The brightly colored First apparently cost him as much angst in its creation as the dark Sixth. Each is a landmark, the First heralding a new kind of Russian symphony, the Sixth a new spiritual darkness.
Program Notes
Price Waterhouse Cooper smaller version
Tchaikovsky in St. Petersburg is sponsored by PwC

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