by Dan Lowell
On the evening of January 13th, Madrid audiences were dazzled by the performance of the Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater of St. Petersburg, conducted by Valery Gergiev, at the National Auditorium. The works performed were Wagner’s Prelude to the Third Act of Parsifal and Enchantment of Good Friday, and Mahler’s Symphony in Re Major.
The finale was enthusiastically applauded with many of the audience rising to compliment the conductor and orchestra.
Valery Gergiev, considered by many to be the top concert conductor, is the Artistic and General Director of the Mariinsky Theater, titular conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, Dean of the Faculty of Arts of the State University of St. Petersburg, President of the Organizing Committee of the International Tchaikovsky Contest and Honorary President of the Edinburgh International Festival. Apart from the Edinburg fest Gergiev founded and has directed many other festivals among which were the Stars of the White Nights of St. Petersburg, Gergiev Festival, and the Easter Festival of Moscow.
Gergiev founded Mariinsky’s recording company in 2009 which has now published 21 records. He regularly conducts orchestras such as the Metropolitan Opera, the Philharmonics of Vienna, New York, Rotterdam, and La Scala. He has been decorated by Russia, Germany, France, Japan, Poland and the Netherlands.
In 2012, Gergiev was made Doctor Honoris Causa of the State University of Moscow. In 2013 he became conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of the USA. In 2015 he will become the Titular Director of the Philharmonica of Munich.
The Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater is one of the oldest musical groups of Russia. It was founded at the beginning of the 18th century. It grew greatly under the tutelage of Eduard Napravnik who directed it for over 50 years. Its excellence was recognized many times by the renowned musicians who conducted it, such as Berlioz, Wagner, von Bülow, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Nikisch and Rachmaninoff.
Succeeding prominent conductors have continued the fine reputation of the orchestra.
The theater orchestra has had the privilege of premiering many operas and ballets of Tchaikovsky, operas of Glinka, Musorgsky Rimsky-Korsakov, and ballets of Shostakovich, Khachaturian and Asafyev. From 1988, under the baton of Maestro Gergiev, the orchestra greatly expanded its repertoire with symphonies of Beethoven, Mahler, Prokofiev and Shostakovich, requiems of Mozart, Berlioz, Verdi, Brahms and Tishchenko, and works of composers like Stravinsky, Dutilleux, Henze, Shchedrin, Gubaidulina, Kancheli and Karetnikov.
The Symphony Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theater performs regularly in the most prestigious halls in the world.
Photo of Mariinsky Theater by A. Savin: Used here under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license
Top photo: Valery Gergiev
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