Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra

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The Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra is an orchestra based in Saint Petersburg in Russia. It is the oldest orchestra in Russia. It has had several changes of name because of the way that Russia has often changed.

The orchestra started in 1882. It was then called the "Imperial Music Choir". It was the orchestra that belonged to the emperor and it played privately for the court of Alexander III of Russia.

By the 1900s it had started to give public performances. Richard Strauss conducted the orchestra in 1912.

After the Russian Revolution the country no longer had a tsar. The town of Saint Petersburg changed its name to Petrograd, so the orchestra's name changed to "State Philharmonic Orchestra of Petrograd". In the 1920s the orchestra began to get money from the state. It was an excellent orchestra and was famous abroad. Guest conductors who conducted the orchestra included Bruno Walter, Ernest Ansermet and Hans Knappertsbusch at this time. Around this time the orchestra changed its name to Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, because the city had changed its name again, this time to "Leningrad".

Evgeny Mravinsky conducted the orchestra for 50 years. They were not allowed to travel abroad, so they were only known outside Russia (the USSR) by their gramophone recordings. Symphony no 8 by Shostakovich was one famous work of which they gave the first performance.

By 1991 Leningrad had changed its name again to Saint Petersburg, so the orchestra was renamed Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. It is an internationally well-known orchestra. Their conductor today is Yuri Temirkanov.

Chief conductors[change | change source]

  • Yuri Temirkanov (1988–)
  • Evgeny Mravinsky (1938–1988)
  • Fritz Stiedry (1934–1937)
  • Aleksandr Gauk (1930–1934)
  • Nikolai Malko (1926–1930)
  • Valery Berdyaev (1924–1926)
  • Emil Cooper (1920–1923)
  • Alexander Khessin (1920)
  • Serge Koussevitzky (1917–1920)
  • Hugo Varlikh (1907–1917)
  • Hermann Fliege (1882–1907)

Other websites[change | change source]