Orchestral gems from St Petersburg - and Birmingham!

This Autumn, orchestral concerts in the Birmingham International Concert Season come from two of St Petersburg’s cultural gems – alongside an acclaimed orchestra well known by Birmingham audiences, the CBSO.

On Friday 31 October, the St Petersburg Philharmonic come to Symphony Hall to perform an all-Russian programme, including Tchaikovsky’sPathetique Symphony – a work premiered by the Philharmonic 121 years ago in St Petersburg, under the composer’s baton. Russia’s oldest orchestra, and their Music Director of over 25 years Yuri Temirkanov also perform Liadov’s tone poem Kikimora, and are joined by violinist Leticia Moreno for Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto.

Young Spanish violinist Moreno made her Birmingham debut earlier this year, with a Town Hall recital as part of the ECHO Rising Star’s Concert Series. Leticia has has already won numerous accolades in her short professional career, and has performed with leading orchestras including Wiener Symphoniker, Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Simon Bolivar and the St Petersburg Philharmonic.

Leticia Moreno performs Shostakovich Violin Concerto No1 with the St Petersburg Philharmonic

The following week, another of St Petersburg’s cultural gems comes to Birmingham, with a performance from the Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble. Formed by the Mariinsky Theatre’s Music Director, Valery Gergiev, in 2009 performances from the Ensemble give audiences a rare opportunity to hear the Mariinsky’s famous string players in works which allow them to really shine. Their Town Hall concert on Friday 7 November features Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, alongside works by Tchaikovsky and Elgar.

The performance takes place whilst the Mariinsky Theatre Company are in Birmingham to perform Wagner’s full Ring Cycle at Birmingham Hippodrome – and the following day audiences will have the chance to hear the Mariinsky Chorus perform a programme of Russian orthodox music, including selections from Rachmaninov’s Vespers.

Image of the Mariinsky Theatre c 1859

Later this year, a new large-scale choral work by James MacMillan, St Luke Passion, receives its UK premiere in Symphony Hall, performed by the CBSO and CBSO Chorus. Conducted by the composer himself, the hour-long work will be performed on Thursday 4 December in a concert that also features Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (soloists Toby Spence and Richard Watkins). Following its world premiere in Amsterdam earlier this year, the St Luke Passion has already received a clean sweep of excellent reviews.

Read an interview with James MacMillan about the new work

Later on in the season, we will be joined by orchestras from Hong Kong, Germany and the Czech Republic – alongside more home-grown talent. Visit our dedicated Orchestral page for full details of orchestras appearing as part of BICS 14/15.

Are you looking forward to the 2014/15 season? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, using #BICS1415, and listen to works featuring in the news season in our Spotify playlist