Maestro Yury Temirkanov
“Speaking about current performers: if Abbado is – class, Barenboim – charisma, Haitink – individuality, then Temirkanov is – genius, unpredictability, and brilliance.» A memorable Italian press response to the recent tour has once again confirmed that the Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Yuri Temirkanov, is one of the stellar conductors of our time. One of the latest tributes to his accomplishments was the invitation to stand behind the podium of the Stockholm Royal Philharmonic Orchestra during the concert honoring the Nobel Prize winners of 2009. A year earlier, Temirkanov became the first musician of the Russian Federation, to receive twice, the most prestigious music award of the Association of Italian music critics, the Abbiati Prize. After that, the maestro was appointed Music Director of the Parma Royal Theatre (Teatro Regio di Parma, Italy) where his contract extends until the Verdi Festival in 2013, which will mark the 200-year anniversary of the composer.
The conductor's intensive collaboration with world renowned ensembles has a long history. In 1978 Temirkanov started working with the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1992 he was appointed its Principal Conductor. From 1992 - 1997 he accepted the post of Principal Guest Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1998 he left the London Philharmonic for Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra (of which the meastro remains Principal Guest Conductor to this day). For six seasons (2000–2006) Temirkanov has served as Principal Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony.
However, the maestro confesses that throughout all these years his home has been and remains St Petersburg and the Grand Hall of the Philharmonia, where for two decades he has been head of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. It was in Russia's Northern Capital that Temirkanov's ascent of the conducting world's Mount Olympus began. In 1966 the post-graduate student of the Leningrad Conservatoire (class of Professor Ilya Musin) won the II All-Union Conducting Competition and immediately became one of the most called-for conductors of his generation. Together with Kirill Kondrashin and David Oistrakh he travelled abroad and was invited to tour by orchestras in the USA, France and Germany. In early 1967 Temirkanov performed at the Grand Hall of the Philharmonia, after which Yevgeny Mravinsky offered him the post of assistant. From 1968 the conductor headed the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonia. He broadened the ensemble's repertoire and the orchestra frequently toured to Europe, Japan and the USA.
The maestro's name is connected with the beginning of the rebirth of the Mariinsky (then the Kirov) Theatre. From 1976–1988 Temirkanov was its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Over that period the repertoire expanded to include such masterpieces as Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades, Prokofiev's War and Peace, Petrov's Peter I and Shchedrin's Dead Souls. Under Temirkanov, the company began to tour frequently (the USA, Japan and Europe) and the maestro revived the practice of symphony concerts with the theatre's orchestra, which were also performed abroad.
“How is Temirkanov able to perform a miracle in his interpretations each time? – This remains an enigma. Genius – behind the great sound that springs lavishly from whatever orchestra that he may conduct, but especially when he performs with his St. Petersburgers” (« Il Sole 24 Ore», Milan, March 2010). Indeed, in the maestro’s own words, his priority is to work with the Honored Orchestra of Russia. As head of the orchestra since 1988, the conductor performs regularly with it both in St. Petersburg and abroad.
In 2005 under Temirkanov's baton, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic became the first Russian orchestra to open the concert season at the world-famous Carnegie Hall (in late 2007 as part of a major US tour the ensemble once again performed there). And in 2006–2007 the maestro revived the orchestra's tours of Russia with concerts in Moscow and cities in Siberia.
Last season, the maestro conducted the orchestra’s concerts in St. Petersburg, Moscow and cities in Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Croatia. The geography of the 2010/2011 season engagements encompasses Europe, Asia and North America (USA).
The conductor has received many prizes, awards and honorary titles. People's Artist of the USSR Yuri Temirkanov is the recipient of State Prizes, the Russian Presidential Prize and the Abbiati Prize as «Best conductor of the year» (2003, 2007), Cavallier of several orders (including «For services to the Fatherland», 2nd class). In 2007 the maestro became an honorary member of the Accademia Santa Cecilia. He is also an honorary doctor of St. Petersburg Conservatory and honorary citizen of St. Petersburg.
Despite his intensive performing schedule, the musician's life extends beyond the concert stage. To preserve and develop the legacy of Petersburg's spiritual life he formed the Maestro Temirkanov International Foundation for Cultural Initiatives. In 1998 the conductor founded the Temirkanov Prize, which is awarded each year to the best pupils of the St Petersburg Conservatoire Lyceum.
Each year the jewel of the Saint Petersburg winter music festival season is “Arts Square” Festival, under the artistic direction of Temirkanov, which gathers prominent musicians in our city.
“Speaking of performers who are currently thriving, if Abbado is class, Barenboim is charisma and Haitink is individuality then Temirkanov is brilliance, unpredictability and dazzle.” This memorable review in the Italian press of his recent tour once again underlined the fact that Yuri Temirkanov, Artistic Director of the St Petersburg Philharmonic, Honoured Ensemble of Russia, is one of the present day’s greatest conductors. One of the most recent proofs of his acclaim was an invitation to conduct at Stockholm’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at a concert congratulating the Nobel Prize recipients in 2009. One year earlier Temirkanov became the first Russian musician to receive the Abbiati Prize, the most prestigious award of the Italian Association of Music Critics, on two occasions. After this the maestro was appointed Music Director of the Teatro Regio in Parma, his contract running until the Verdi Festival in 2013 which will celebrate two centuries since the composer’s birth.
The conductor’s intense collaboration with internationally renowned orchestras dates back many years. As far back as 1978 Temirkanov began to work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London, becoming its Principal Conductor in 1992. From 1992 to 1997 he was also Principal Guest Conductor of Dresden’s Philharmonie. In 1998 the London Philharmonic was succeeded by the Danish Radio National Symphony Orchestra (Principal Guest Conductor), and, starting in 2000, for six seasons Temirkanov was Principal Conductor of the Baltimore Symphony.
However, as the maestro admits, all these years his home has been and will remain to be St Petersburg, where for over two decades he has directed the Philharmonic and where his ascent to the peak of music’s Mount Olympus began. In 1966 the postgraduate student of the Leningrad Conservatoire (class of Professor Ilya Musin) won the II All-Union Conducting Competition and immediately became one of the most sought-after musicians of his generation. Together with Kirill Kondrashin and David Oistrakh he undertook a world tour and was invited to perform in the USA, France and Germany. In early 1967 Temirkanov performed at the Great Hall of the Philharmonic, after which Yevgeny Mravinsky asked him to become his assistant. Since 1968 the conductor has directed the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonic. He is constantly expanding the ensemble’s repertoire and the orchestra frequently tours to Europe, Japan and the USA.
The maestro’s name is also linked with the resurgence of the Mariinsky Theatre (formerly the Kirov). From 1976 to 1988 the musician was its Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Over this time the theatre’s repertoire expanded to include such masterpieces as Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades (Temirkanov’s productions of both of these remain in the repertoire to this day), Prokofiev’s War and Peace, Petrov’s Peter I and Shchedrin’s Dead Souls. Under Temirkanov, the company began to tour on a regular basis (the USA, Japan and Europe), and he revived the practice of the theatre’s orchestra performing symphony concerts, both in Russia and abroad.
“How does Temirkanov manage each and every time to create a miracle in his interpretations? It’s a mystery. The brilliance lies in the magnificent sound that beats like a hammer from whatever orchestra he is conducting but particularly when he is conducting his musicians from St Petersburg”( Il Sole 24 Ore, Milan, March 2010).
And truly, in the words of the maestro himself, his priority is working with the Honoured Ensemble of Russia. Having directed the orchestra since 1988, the conductor regularly performs with it in St Petersburg and abroad. In 2005, under Temirkanov the orchestra became the first Russian ensemble to open a season at the renowned Carnegie Hall, and in the season 2006–2007 he revived tours throughout Russia with performances in Moscow and towns in Siberia. Last season the conductor gave concerts with the orchestra in St Petersburg, Moscow, cities in Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxemburg, Greece, Hungary, Romania, Croatia, countries throughout Europe, Asia and North America (the USA) – these are his touring performances for the 2010–2011 to date.
The maestro’s work has brought him numerous prizes, awards and honorary titles. People’s Artist of the USSR Yuri Temirkanov is a recipient of State Prizes, the Russian Presidential Prize and the Abbiati Prize as “Best Conductor of the Year” (2003, 2007); he is a chevalier of several orders including the order “For Services to the Fatherland”, 1st class, an honorary academician of the Accademia Santa Cecilia, an honorary doctor of the St Petersburg Conservatoire and an honorary citizen of St Petersburg.
Despite the incredibly intense performance schedule, the musician’s life is not restricted to the concert stage. To maintain and develop the legacy of St Petersburg’s spiritual culture, the Maestro Temirkanov International Foundation for Cultural Initiatives was established. In 1998 the conductor founded the Temirkanov Prize, which is awarded on an annual basis to the best students at the Specialised Middle School of the St Petersburg Conservatoire. Each year, one of the highlights of the music season in St Petersburg is the International Winter Festival Arts Square, which is directed by Temirkanov and brings first-class musicians together in St Petersburg.
Prize-winner at the II All-Union Conducting Competition (1st prize, Moscow, 1966)
People’s Artist of the Kabardino-Balkarian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (1973)
Recipient of the State Prize of Russia for his production of Andrei Petrov’s opera Peter I (1976)
Chevalier of the Order of Lenin (1983)
Nominee for a Grammy for his recording of music by Sergei Prokiev for the film Alexander Nevsky (1996) and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony (1998)
Honorary member of the International Academy of Sciences, Industry, Education and the Arts (USA, 1998)
Recipient of the State Prize of Russia (1999)
Recipient of the Abbiati Prize as “Best Conductor of the Year” (2003)
Honorary Doctor of the St Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions (2003)
Chevalier of the order “For Services to the Fatherland”, 2nd class (2003)
Honorary academician of the Accademia Santa Cecilia (Italy, 2007)
Chevalier of the order “For Services to the Fatherland”, 1st class (2008)
Honoured Artist of the RSFSR (1971)
People’s Artist of the RSFSR (1976)
People’s Artist of the USSR (1981) Recipient of the State Prize of the USSR for his production of the opera Eugene Onegin (1985)
Chevalier of the Order of Cyril and Methodius (Bulgaria, 1998)
Chevalier of the order “For Services to the Fatherland”, 3rd class (1998)
Chevalier of the “Catherine the Great” Order of Science and Culture (2002)
Recipient of the Russian Presidential Prize (2003)
Honorary Doctor of the St Petersburg State Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatoire (2003)
Recipient of the Triumph prize (2003)
Recipient of the Abbiati Prize as “Best Conductor of the Year” (2007)
Honorary citizen of St Petersburg (2009)
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