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SF Symphony presents Temirkanov and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic

The San Francisco Symphony welcomes the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic to Davies Symphony Hall on March 2 and 3. Appearing as part of the Symphony’s Great Performers Series, Russia’s oldest symphony orchestra is led by its illustrious Music Director, Yuri Termirkanov.

Yuri Temirkanov
Photo: Courtesy San Francisco Symphony

The origins of the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra go back to 1882, when - on the Order of Alexander III - the Court Musicians Choir was established, to perform in the royal presence at receptions, ceremonies, balls and concerts. In 1897, the Musician’s Choir became the Court Orchestra, and from the early 20th century, this orchestra was given the entitlement to perform at commercial concerts for the general public.

Maestro Temirkanov, who is also Music Director of Teatro Regio di Parma and Music Director Emeritus of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, made his debut with the St Petersburg Philharmonic (then the Leningrad Philharmonic) in 1967. Having been invited to join the orchestra as Assistant Conductor to Yevgeny Mravinsky, he was then appointed Principal Conductor of the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra in 1968. In 1976 Maestro Temirkanov took up an appointment as Music Director of the Kirov Opera and Ballet (now the Mariinsky Theatre), where his productions of Tchaikovsky’s operas Eugene Onegin and The Queen of Spades achieved legendary status in the history of the Theatre.

A frequent guest conductor in Europe, Asia and the United States, Yuri Temirkanov holds the distinction of being the first Russian artist permitted to perform in the United States after cultural relations were resumed with the Soviet Union at the end of war in Afghanistan in 1988. He leads the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic in a program of three works - the Suite from The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov; .... al niente by contemporary Georgian composer Giya Kancheli, and Tchaikovsky’s magnificent Piano Concerto No 1.

The soloist in the Tchaikovsky concerto is young Russian virtuoso Denis Kozhukhin, who last year made his debut at Carnegie Hall with Maestro Temirkanov and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, a performance which received a standing ovation. According to the New York Times: “There was plenty of brilliance and dazzling passagework in his account of Tchaikovsky’s First Concerto. Yet this was a performance that highlighted the music’s Romantic musings, poetic lyricism and fanciful flights. The finale was especially good, played with refreshing lightness and bite, like a real Russian dance…"

Mr Kozhukhin also received rave reviews for his solo recital debut at the Zurich Tonhalle and his recital debut in the Royal Concertgebouw’s Master Pianists Series, the latter performance earning him a rarely-given 5-star review in the Volkskrant. Following Denis Kozhutkhin's recital at the Wigmore Hall in London last September, Classical Source confirmed its view that he "can be considered as the leader of the pack of Russian pianists currently under forty”.

Mr Kozhukhin’s entry onto the international circuit followed his award of First Prize in the 2010 Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels when he was just 23. He has since appeared at many of the music world’s most prestigious festivals and concert halls, and included in the forthcoming 2014/15 season will be appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the BBC and Houston symphony orchestras, and a tour to China with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Yuri Temirkanov conducts the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, with soloist Denis Khozukhin, at Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday, March 2, at 7.00 pm For further information and tickets, please visit the San Francisco Symphony website.

Young Norwegian violinist, Vilde Frang, is the guest soloist in the second performance by Yuri Temirkanov and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic - on Monday, March 3. Ms Frang will play Prokofiev’s Second Violin Concerto - a recent performance of which earned her the accolade of “a new star in the violin firmament” from The Guardian.

Since she was engaged by Mariss Jansons to perform with the Oslo Philharmonic at the age of 12, Vilde Frang has established herself as one of the leading young violinists of her generation. Neue Zürcher Zeiting describes her as “ .... unique, effortless and natural”, Ensemble refers to her as “A grandiose talent!”, and Muso Magazine writes: “Versatile and mature, Frang is a captivating talent”.

Vilde Frang was unanimously awarded the 2012 Credit Suisse Young Artist Award in 2012, and made her debut with the Vienna Philharmonic under Bernard Haitink at the Lucerne Summer Music Festival in the same year.

Ms Frang’s recent and forthcoming engagements include appearances with some of the world’s major orchestras, including the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, the Vienna Symphony, the Tonhall Orchestra of Zurich and Orchestre de Paris. Leading conductors with whom she appears include Ivan Fischer, Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, Semyon Bychkov, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Harding, Mariss Jansons, David Zinman and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The Prokofiev Violin Concerto on Monday evening is preceded by Rossini’s Overture to The Barber of Seville, and followed by Rachmaninoff’s glorious Symphony No 2.

Vilde Frang appears with Yuri Temirkanov and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic at Davies Symphony Hall on Monday, March 3 at 8.00 pm. More information can be found on the San Francisco Symphony website .

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