Yuri Temirkanov became the artistic director and chief conductor of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra in 1988. Looking back to Temirkanov’s early career, a key event was his victory at the 2nd National Conductors’ Competition in 1966. From that moment onwards, Temirkanov, a graduate student of the Leningrad Conservatory (from the class of Professor Ilia Musin) overnight entered the ranks of the most sought-after conductors of his generation. Together with Kirill Kondrashin and David Oistrakh he toured internationally and performed with orchestras from the US, France and Germany. In early 1967 Temirkanov conducted a concert in the Philharmonic Hall and after this performance Evgeny Mravinsky offered him the position of assistant conductor. From 1968 the maestro was head of the Academic Symphony Orchestra of the Philharmonia. He widened the orchestra’s repertoire and took them on tour to Europe, Japan and the US. In 1976 Temirkanov became the artistic director and chief conductor of the Kirov (Mariinsky) Theatre. Here he created classic productions of Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades by Tchaikovsky as well War and Peace by Prokofiev and more recently Peter I by Petrov and Dead Souls by Shchedrin. At this time Kirov also started actively performing abroad. The theatre toured the US, Japan and many countries of Europe, including England, for the first time in history. Temirkanov inititated symphony concerts by the theatre orchestra both in Russia and abroad.
In the same period Temirkanov began his collaboration with many world famous orchestras. In 1978 Temirkanov worked for the first time with Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and in 1992 became its chief conductor. From 1992 until 1997 he was also principal guest conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic. In 1998 he moved from the RPO to Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra where he remains principal guest conductor. For 6 seasons (2000-2006) Temirkanov was the chief conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and from 2007-2008 he has been principal guest conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre and Music Director of the Teatro Reggio in Parma.
The main focus, however, of his career for almost 20 years has been the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. He regularly performs in St. Petersburg to conduct the traditional opening and closing concerts of the season. He also tours extensively with the orchestra and took them to Carnegie Hall in 2005 in as part of the official ceremony of the UN General Assembly in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Victory day. Under the direction of Temirkanov, St. Petersburg Philharmonic became the first Russian orchestra to perform at the opening concert of the season in this famous New York concert hall.
Temirkanov’s activities have been recognized by numerous awards and titles. Yuri Temirkanov holds the title of the People’s Artist of the USSR, he has received several State Awards and Orders (including the Order of Merit of the 2nd grade). The year of his 65th birthday brought to Temirkanov the President of Russia award and the Abbiati award, The Best Conductor of the Year. Last season the maestro was elected Honorary Academic of Academy of Santa Cecilia and was awarded the St. Petersburg Government Award. Despite the intensity of his concert schedule, Temirkanov has made the preservation and nurturing of St. Petersburg’s spiritual and cultural inheritance a personal priority. He founded the Temirkanov International Foundation for Cultural Initiatives and in 1998 created the Temirkanov award for talented young musicians, granted on yearly basis to outstanding students of Musical School of St. Petersburg Conservatory.