Yuri Temirkanov, artistic director & principal conductor
Yuri Temirkanov became the artistic director and chief conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in 1988. Looking back into Temirkanov’s early career, a key event was his victory at the 2nd National Conductors’ Competition in 1966. From that moment onwards, Temirkanov, a graduate student of the Leningrad Conservatory (class of Professor Ilia Musin) entered the ranks of the most sought-after conductors of his generation. Together with Kirill Kondrashin and David Oistrakh he toured internationally and performed with orchestras from the US, France and Germany. In early 1967 Temirkanov conducted a concert at the Philharmonic Hall and after this performance Evgeny Mravinsky offered him the position of assistant conductor. From 1968 the maestro was head of the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonia. He widened the orchestra’s repertoire and took them on tour to Europe, Japan and the United States.
In 1976 Temirkanov became the artistic director and chief conductor of the Kirov (Mariinsky) Theatre. Here he created classic productions ofWar and Peace by Prokofiev, Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky as well as Peter I by Petrov and Dead Souls by Shchedrin. At this time Kirov also started actively performing abroad. The theatre toured the US, Japan and many countries of Europe, including England, for the first time in history. Temirkanov initiated symphony concerts by the theatre orchestra both in Russia and abroad.
In the same period Temirkanov began his collaboration with many world famous orchestras. In 1978 Temirkanov worked for the first time with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1992 became its chief conductor. From 1992 until 1997 he was also principal guest conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic. In 1998 he moved from the RPO to Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra where he remains principal guest conductor. For six seasons (2000 -2006) Temirkanov was the chief conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and from 2007-2008 he was the principal guest conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre. For the 2009 Nobel Prize ceremony, he was invited to conduct the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Temirkanov is also the music director of the Parma Royal Theatre (Teatro Regio di Parma, Italy) through the Verid Bicentennial Festival in 2013.
For the past 20 years, Temirkanov has lead the prestigious St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He regularly performs in St. Petersburg with the Philharmonic and, through his great leadership and artistic vision, has toured the Philharmonic throughout the world, firmly establishing it as one of the most important orchestras performing on the world’s great concert stages. In 2005 Temirkanov and the Orchestra performed for the UN General Assembly in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. Under Temirkanov’s direction, the Philharmonic became the first Russian orchestra to perform at the opening season concerts in Carnegie Hall.
The main focus, however, of his career for almost 20 years has been the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. The Maestro regularly performs in St. Petersburg to conduct the traditional opening and closing concerts of the season. He also tours extensively with the orchestra and took them to New York in 2005 for the concert at the UN General Assembly in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the end of WWII. Under the direction of Temirkanov, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic became the first Russian orchestra to perform at the opening concerts of the season in Carnegie Hall.
Temirkanov’s activities have been recognized by numerous awards and titles. Yuri Temirkanov holds the title of the People’s Artist of the USSR, he has received several State Awards and Orders (including the Order of Merit of the 2nd grade), the President of Russia award and the Abbiati award (the only Russian conductor to be awarded it twice), the St. Petersburg Government Award and the Order of Merit for the Country of the 1st degree. The maestro was elected Honorary Member of the Academy of Santa Cecilia and an honorable doctor of the Rimsky-Korsakov St. Petersburg State Conservatory. In 2009 Temirkanov became an honorary freeman of St. Petersburg.
Despite the intensity of his concert schedule, Temirkanov has made the preservation and nurturing of St. Petersburg’s spiritual and cultural inheritance the subject of an International Foundation for Cultural Initiatives in his name. In 1998 he created the Temirkanov award for talented young musicians, granted annually to outstanding students both of the Musical School of the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and of the Conservatory itself.
In 1999 Temirkanov founded a new international winter festival in Arts Square, from which the festival takes its name. This series of prestigious concerts occurs at the of December, presenting the world’s greatest soloists with the orchestra, has become a cultural highlight of life in St Petersburg. Now in its eleventh season, the International Winter Festival “Arts Square” 2010 was dedicated to “The Year of France in Russia and The Year of Russia in France” where Maestro Temirkanov and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra presented works of Ravel, Mussorgsky and Stravinsky.