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The St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Russia’s oldest orchestra, was founded in 1882 at the court of Tsar Alexander III. The ensemble soon developed an artistically unique profile beyond its responsibilities at representative and ceremonial occasions. Richard Strauss, Arthur Nikisch, Alexander Glazunov, and Serge Koussevitzky conducted concerts in the first decades of its existence. Following the October Revolution in 1917, the organizational format and mission changed: the orchestra was nationalized and turned into the Petrograd Philharmonic in 1921; in 1924 it was renamed the Leningrad Philharmonic State Symphony Orchestra. Prominent guest conductors remained loyal to the ensemble even in the first years of the Soviet Union, including Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, Ernest Ansermet, and Felix Weingartner. Its repertoire expanded to include many contemporary works, from Stravinsky through the Second Viennese School to Hindemith, Honegger, and Poulenc. Under the direction of Evgeny Mravinsky, who directed the Philharmonic for fifty years, from 1938 to 1988, the ensemble advanced to become one of the primary exponents of Russian music. Dmitri Shostakovich in particular enjoyed a close relationship with the orchestra and its leader: a majority of his works received their world premieres from them. Acclaimed guest conductors during the Mravinsky era were Kurt Sanderling, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Georg Solti, Igor Markevitch, and Mariss Jansons. Since 1988, Yuri Temirkanov has helmed the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, as the orchestra again became known in 1991. The musicians have also regularly toured around the world since then – from New York to Tokyo, from the Salzburg Festival to the den BBC Proms.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 5 September 1992, with Yuri Temirkanov conducting Tchaikovsky's Manfred Symphony and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.