With the generous sponsorship of J. D'Addario & Company Strings.
KHARKOV PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
The Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra was founded at the beginning of the 19th century. One of the orchestra's first conductors was the Russian composer Konstantin Vilboa. The early history of the orchestra, which then performed under a different name, includes concerts conducted by the composers Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Alexander Glazunov, Sergei Taneyev, Sergei.Rachmaninov, Anton Rubinstein, Alexander Scriabin and the legendary Serge Koussevitsky. They have also presented many of the great soloists of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Henryk Wieniawski, Pablo Sarasate, Leopold Auer, Feodor Chaliapin, Mario Battistini and Tita Ruffo.
The orchestra's debut as the Kharkov Philharmonic was in October 1929 under the direction of J. Rozenstein, a professor at the Kharkov Conservatory. In the next ten years, a number of renowned Soviet conductors worked with the orchestra, including Nikolai Malko, Alexander Klimov, Nicolai Golovanov, Alexander Gauk, Konstantin Ivanov, Konstantin Simeonov, Natan Rakhlin and Evgeny Mravinsky, as well as many outstanding European masters, including H. Adler, Ene. Sencaire, Paul Kletsky, Kurt Sanderling and Friedrich Stiedrie. During the 1930s, many of the great international soloists of the day performed with the orchestra, including Pablo Casals, Joseph Szigeti, Artur Rubinstein and then-young performers who later won worldwide recognition such as David Oistrakh, Jacob Flier, Lev Oborin, Jacob Zack and Emil Gilels.
The KPO quickly gained the reputation of being one of the best orchestras in the Ukraine and attracted many more world-class soloists in subsequent decades, including Sviatoslav Richter, Leonid Kogan, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daneel Shafran, Rudolf Kerer, Pavel Serebryakov, Dmitri. Bashkirov, Igor Bezrodny, Vladimir Kraynev, Oleg Krysa, Bogodar Kotorovich; conductors such as Kiril Kondrashin, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Evgeny Svetlanov, Stepan Turchak and Odisei Dimitriadi, and many other international performers.
The orchestra has premiered and presented many new works and has worked with the Russian composers Isaac Dunayevsky, Reinhold Gliere, Tikhon Khrennikov, Dmitri Kabalevsky, Rodion Schchedrin, Andrei Eshpai and Boris Chaikovsky, the Ukrainian composers Andrei Shtogarenko, Nicolai Skoryk, Lesya Dychko, Vladimir Silvestrov and, of course, composers from Kharkov - Vitaly Gubarenko, Valentin Bibik, Valery Zolotukhin, Nicolai Stetsun and Vladimir Ptushkin,.
Conductors have been an invaluable resource to the orchestra across the years. Two especially bright periods have been the 1946 to 1957 tenure of Israel Gusman (1946 - 1957), when the house was full not only during concerts but also during rehearsals, and the years 1976 to 1983, when the KPO was headed by the prize-winner of The International Contest of Herbert von Karajan Foundation, Vakhtang Jordania. Maestro Jordania has since returned to the KPO as its Chief Conductor and Artistic Director and continues to lead a period of significant growth and international recognition of the orchestra. Under his direction, performances were given in Kiev, Moscow, and cities throughout Georgia and Armenia and the orchestra appeared regularly on radio and TV. Together with Maestro Jordania, the orchestra recorded its first CD - compositions by the American composer James Oliverio. They next recorded Felix Mendelssohn's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in G-minor (soloist - Virginia Shao, Taiwan) and Nicolai Stetsun's Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra (soloist - Michael Long, USA). While on tour in France with conductor Michel Piquemal, they recorded W. A. Mozart's Great Mass in C-minor, with flutist Alan Daboncourt, and concertos by Franz Joseph Haydn, Stamitz and, Hoffmeister with the conductor Volf Gorelik.. They have also recorded Kabir Sings by American composer Janice Hamer and commissioned and premiered American composer David Winkler's Symphony No. 2 - "Symphonies Eterna" for chorus and orchestra in September 2002.
Maestro Jordania and the KPO have recorded a series of CDs of 20th Century Ukranian orchestral music for the American Angelok1 label that will be internationally released in early 2004.
The most exciting recent events in the life of the Kharkov Philharmonic have been their tours of France in 1997, their tour of Spain in 1999, and their tour of Germany in 2000, and participation in international festivals and contests. Since holding the Kharkivski Assamblei (Kharkov Assembly) International Contest in 1991, the orchestra has performed several important programs of the great masters - Mozart, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Liszt, and concerts of musics by modern Ukrainian and international composers. Conductors at the Assemblies have included Vakhtang Jordania, Alexander Alekseyev, Vitalky Kutsenko, Igor Palkin, Urs Schneider (Switzerland) and Burghardt. Rempe (Germany). Soloists have included a number of Russian pianists - Aleksandr. Sevidov, Naum Shtarkman, Lev Shugom, Pavel Yegorov, the Austrian Peter Lang and Switzerland's Steven Manz , as well as the violinist Bogodar Kotorovich.. The Assemblies have also featured jubilee concerts of the music of Mikhail Skoryk, Vitaly Gubarenko and the Macedonian composer V. Nikolovsky.
The orchestra has works extensively with young musicians - both as co-participant in the final tours in Vladimir Kraynev and Bogodar Kotorovich, in honor of the Vladimir Horowitz International Contests, and as a presenter of talented young performers at its concerts. For many years the "Young Musicians Play" subscription series has been an important part of our season. Young players from Moscow and St.-Petersburg (including Victoria Mullova and Sergei Stadler) and Kharkov: (including Olena Kolesnichenko, Nana Mamayeva, Nana Kravchenko, Alexander Bidenko and Valery Sokolov) have made their debuts with the Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra.
Concerts are given at the lovely and intimate Philharmonic Hall. Performances here are a very special experience, bringing the enthusiastic, overflow audiences into close contact with the performers and the music.
Laureate Chief Conductor for Life Vakhtang Jordania was born in the Republic of Georgia, where he studied piano from the age of five. After graduating from the Tbilisi Conservatory, he studied symphonic and operatic conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory, graduating with honors. A top prize at the 1971 Herbert von Karajan Competition catapulted him to the highest circle of Soviet artistry. From his assistantship with the legendary Yevgeny Mravinsky until his defection to the United States in 1983, Mr. Jordania held positions as music director of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra, the Saratov Philharmonic, and the Kharkiv Philharmonic. The Tchaikovsky Competition was under his baton twice. Conducting for more than one hundred concerts a year, he regularly toured the USSR, collaborating with musicians such as David and Igor Oistrakh, Leonid Kogan, Dmitri Shostakovich, Kiril Kondrashin, and Emil Gilels.
Immediately after his defection, he made his Carnegie Hall debut, which was hailed by the New York Times as "a confident and spirited performance - the full house leaped to its feet." Success quickly followed in France, Germany, Austria, Holland, Belgium, Japan, Korea, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and South America. In the United States, his appearances in New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Rochester, Denver and Fort Worth brought more critical acclaim. Since his defection, he has held music director positions with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera, the Spokane Symphony, the Korean Broadcasting System Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, and currently with the Russian Federal Orchestra of Moscow.
Mr. Jordania has regularly conducted at many prestigious opera houses, including Russia's Bolshoi and Kirov theaters and, in the United States, with the Minnesota Opera, where he conducted the North American premiere of Dvorá's Rusalka . He is currently the artistic advisor of the Kharkiv Opera.
His recordings began in the Soviet Union, where he recorded extensively for the Melodiya label. He recorded many soundtracks, including the award-winning film Dersu Uzala , directed by Akira Kurosawa. He has also recorded for Koch International Classics, Soundset Summit, Helicon, Trained Ear, Cantabile, and Angelok 1 and been nominated for Grammy Awards. Maestro Jordania and the KPO have recorded a series of CDs of 20th Century Ukranian orchestral music for the American Angelok1 label that will be internationally released in early 2001.
Kharkov, the former capital of the Ukraine, is a beautiful old city of about 1.7 million people in the northeastern part of the country. Largely unknown to the outside world, the city was a long-time center of Soviet arms manufacture. Kharkov is now in transition, as is the Ukraine and many former Soviet republics, with the change from a state-controlled to a market-driven economy.
These changes are also affecting the city's rich and varied cultural life. The Kharkov Philharmonic Society, composed of the Kharkov Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Choir, the Ensemble of Folk Music and several other ensembles, is adapting to new ways of presenting themselves and their superb performances to the rest of the world. Warm, welcoming people by nature, they are anxious to bring their artistry to the rest of the world and to have the world visit them and enjoy the richness of the Ukranian cultural legacy.
For more information about Kharkov, visit the city's official website at kharkov.vbelous.net/index_e.htm.
Postcards of Kharkov
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