Mariinsky Orchestra © Natasha Razina
The Mariinsky Orchestra was founded in 1783 in St. Petersburg as a court orchestra during the reign of Catherine the Great. In the second half of the 19th century, the orchestra experienced a great boom under the direction of Eduard Nápravník. Its exceptional quality attracted musicians from all over the world, including such composers as Berlioz, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Rachmaninoff and star conductors like Hans von Bülow and Arthur Nikisch. Many milestones of the repertoire were premiered by the Mariinsky Orchestra, such as operas and ballets by Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Shostakovich, and Khachaturian. In 1935, during Soviet times, the orchestra (along with its home, the Mariinsky Theater) was renamed the Kirov Orchestra (and the Kirov Theater) after a murdered Leningrad secretary of the Communist Party. Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union were the original names restored. Vladimir Dranishnikov, Ariy Pazovsky, Evgeny Mravinsky, Konstantin Simeonov, and Yuri Temirkanov were among the conductors who had a decisive impact on the Mariinsky Orchestra in the 20th century. Since 1988, the orchestra has been led by Valery Gergiev, who has significantly expanded the repertoire and brought into the spotlight such previously ignored composers as Stravinsky, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Henze, Shchedrin, Gubaidulina, and Kancheli. Above all, Gergiev regularly leads his musicians on performances all over the world, including at the major festivals and in the most significant music capitals. Since 2009, the orchestra has been releasing CDs on its own record label, “Mariinsky.”
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 20 August 2000 in works by Bartók, Scriabin, and Mussorgsky/Ravel conducted by Valery Gergiev.