Yuri Temirkanov

Yuri Temirkanov
Acclaimed International Conductor and foremost Circassian musician on the world stage

Yuri Temirkanov was born in 1938, near the capital city of Nalchik, the Kabardino Balkarian Republic, in the north Caucasus. At the age of 15 years he went to Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) where he enrolled at the Leningrad Conservatory's Secondary School of music. His passion at that time was the violin, which he studied during his early school years. Later he enrolled in the Orchestral Department of the same Conservatory and continued his musical studies, graduating from it with a post graduate degree in conducting. 

He won his first prize at age 28, at the All-Union Conductors Competition in Moscow. This was followed by a tour of America with K. Kodrashin, David Oistrakh and the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. His rising talents as a sensitive conductor in 1966 landed him the appointment at the Maly Opera and Ballet Theatre in Leningrad where he worked on such operas as "La Traviata" (1966), "Elixir of Love" (1968) and the Russian production of "Porgy & Bess" (1972).

He became Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra in 1968 and continued this work until 1976 when he moved to the Kirov Opera Ballet Theatre as its Chief Conductor and Artistic Director. Here he staged such famous works as "Eugene Onegin" (1982) and the "Queen of Spades" (1984). With the Kirov Opera he toured many European centers and several cities in the United States. Temirkanov was to become known as the first conductor ever to play symphonic concerts with the orchestra of the Kirov Theatre. 

In 1978 Temirkanov began his long association, as a guest conductor, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London. In 1988, Temirkanov was given the prestigious post of Conductor and Music Director of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1997 he was chosen as the Guest Conductor of the Danish Radio Orchestra in Copenhagen. In the year 2000, Temirkanov became the Chief Conductor and Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (USA). 

Yuri Temirkanov became a popular conductor around the world with his outstanding performances with many of the world's great orchestras. He has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic, Concertgebouw, the Cleveland Symphony, the New York Philharmonic, and the San Francisco Symphony. He has an exclusive recording contract with BMG and has recorded extensively with the St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Temirkanov regularly gives master classes at the Curtis Institute (Philadelphia) and at the Manhattan School of Music (New York). In 1990 he recorded a special Concert with the Columbia Artists of the Gala Concert in St. Petersburg of the 150th anniversary of the birth of P.I. Tchaikovsky. In 1996 Temirkanov was chosen to conduct the Gala Concert of the United Nations in Rome, celebrating its 50th anniversary.

In 2015 he was assigned by Teatro La Fenice the prize A Life for Music, unofficially known as the Nobel Prize for musicians.

Honours and awards

- A life for music (2015), Teatro La Fenice, Venice
- Order of Merit for the Fatherland;
    - 1st class (9 December 2008) - for outstanding contributions to the development of domestic and world music, many years of creative activity
    - 2nd class (10 December 2003) - for outstanding contribution to music
    - 3rd class (1998)
    - 4th class (10 December 2013)
- Order of Lenin (1983)
- Order of Saints Cyril and Methodius (Bulgaria, 1998)
- People's Artist of the USSR (1981)
- People's Artist of the RSFSR (1976)
- People's Artist of Kabardino-Balkar Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (1973)
- State Prize of the Russian Federation in Literature and Art in 1998 (4 June 1999) - for concert programs 1995-1998 Academic Symphony Orchestra, St. Petersburg Philharmonic Society named after Shostakovich
- Russian Federation President Prize in Literature and Art in 2002 (13 February 2003)
- USSR State Prizes;
    - 1976 - for conducting opera "Peter the First" by A. Petrov
    - 1985 - for conducting and staging opera "Eugene Onegin" by Tchaikovsky on stage LATOB Kirov
- Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR (1971) - for the years 1968-1970 concert programs
- Award "Triumph" (2003)
- Tsarskoselskaya Art Prize (2002)
- Order of Science and Culture, "Catherine the Great" (2002)
- Honorary citizen of St. Petersburg (2009)
- Abbiati Prize "Best Conductor of the Year" (2003, 2007)
- Badge of Honour "For Services to the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria" (2008)
- Order "For Service to the St. Petersburg" (2008)
- DaCapo KlassiK Award "Conductor of the Year" (2013)
- The 6432 Temirkanov asteroid was named after the conductor (1975)
- Order of the Rising Sun, 3rd Class, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon (2015)

"Phenomenal is a word rarely applied to conductors but in the case of Yuri Temirkanov it has to be used".
Jyllands-Posten, Copenhagen

"Yuri Temirkanov is amazing not only by his highest emotional tension and originality of interpretations, but also by great power of his personal influence over musicians. He has very bright graphical expressiveness of conductor's technique, and audience can get a possibility of visual percept of the harmonious orchestra's playing under his conductor's baton".
New York Times