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: