St. Petersburg Philharmonic (Russia)
"St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is incredible by its wholeness, outstanding balance of groups, three-dimensional sound, enthusiasm of performance, which can be compared only with its masterly qualities."
The St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, led by Yuri Temirkanov, is recognized as among the greatest and most venerable orchestras of the world. The oratorios and symphony works of Handel, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven were given their Russian premieres in the townhouse rented by the society for its concerts. Located on the city's main thoroughfare, Nevsky Prospekt, the venue is now the Small Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. One of the most important events in the history of the hall was the premiere of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis on March 26, 1824.
In 1830, work was completed on the construction of a Noblemen's Assembly, now the Large Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, in the center of St. Petersburg. By the middle of the nineteenth century, the hall had become the center of musical life in St. Petersburg. Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss all appeared on its stage. Additionally, the premieres of many works by the most famous Russian composers- Modest Mussorgsky, Alexander Borodin, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Glazunov, Sergei Rachmaninov, Alexander Scriabin- were held in the hall of the Noblemen's Assembly. Nine days before his death in October, 1893, Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his Sixth (Pathetique) Symphony at the Noblemen's Assembly. Among the members of the audience was the eleven-year old Igor Stravinsky.
The list of guest conductors who have led the Orchestra comprises many of the 20th century's leading figures of the classical music world. Russian composers Dmitri Shostakovich and Sergei Prokofiev collaborated with the Philharmonia Orchestra which premiered their works on several occasions. In 1938, Yevgeny Mravinsky was appointed Principal Conductor of the Orchestra, a post he held for over fifty years until his death in January, 1988. In 1988, Yuri Temirkanov succeeded Maestro Mravinsky as Music Director and Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic.