« Add Handel Choir to list of struggling ensembles | Main | Week from hell: bankruptcies, cutbacks, uncertainties »

December 10, 2008

Temirkanov turns 70

Yuri Temirkanov, music director emeritus of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, turns 70 today, an occasion that will be celebrated in a big way in his hometown. On Friday, there will be a star-packed concert in his honor featuring the St. Petersburg Philharmonic (which Temirkanov has led for 20 years) and St. Petersburg Academic Symphony Orchestra. Three conductors will take turns on the podium, among them the eminent Mariss Jansons. The guest soloist roster reads like a who's-who of great Russian-born talent, including pianists Evgeny Kissin and Elisso Virssaladze; violinists Gidon Kremer and Vadim Repin; violist Yuri Bashmet; cellist Natalia Gutman; and baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky.

Members of the BSO signed a birthday card that was sent to Temirkanov and Maryland Governor Martin O' Malley issued a state proclamation praising the conductor's "extraordinary achievements" and "lasting contribution" to the orchestra's "artistic quality" and "international recognition."

Temirkanov's distinctive gifts place him in a special class of conductor. He can generate powerful musical electricity from an orchestra, and, in the repertoire he holds most dear, he can achieve an intensely spiritual experience that is impossible to forget. It's no wonder he's being feted in a big way this week by so many great musicians.

Temirkanov is due back as a guest on the BSO podium in early spring for a Brahms-Prokofiev program. Meanwhile, to get into the party mood for his 70th birthday, here he is conducting the Festive Overture by Shostakovich with his brilliant St. Petersburg Philharmonic in their historic, elegant concert hall:

Posted by Tim Smith at 4:04 PM | | Comments (0)

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
View the Artsmash blog

Baltimore Sun coverage
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop
Famous faces in classical music
Sign up for FREE entertainment alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for nightlife text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Weekend Watch newsletter
Plan your weekend with's best events, restaurant and movie reviews, TV picks and more delivered to you every Thursday for free.
See a sample | Sign up

Most Recent Comments
Stay connected