St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra
The orchestra was established in 1967. Its first leaders were outstanding masters of the Leningrad conducting school: Nikolai Rabinovich, Karl Eliasberg, and Edward Grikurov. The well-considered repertoire policy of performing seldom-played opuses of different musical styles and nations, and eager attention to music of living composers also defined the orchestra’s name: from the day of its origination and until 1985 it was called “Orchestra of Ancient and Modern Music.” The brightest moments for the ensemble of that period are related to the name of conductor Edward Serov who headed the orchestra for 15 years. It was under his baton that the “Orchestra of Ancient and Modern Music” traveled to hundreds of cities of the Soviet Union and many countries of the world with its concerts, recorded dozens of LPs for the Soviet Melodia label, participated in the most prestigious festivals, and firmly ranked as Leningrad’s third after the two famous philharmonic orchestras. Renowned soloists and conductors such as Yuri Temirkanov, Maris Jansons, Svyatoslav Richter, Natalia Gutman, Elena Obraztsova, Grigory Sokolov, and many others performed with the orchestra in those days.
In 1985, the minor symphony list of the orchestra extended to a full symphony scale. Considering the important role played by the ensemble in Leningrad’s artistic life, it was given the rank of Leningrad State Orchestra. From that same year till 2004, talented musician Ravil Martynov was the orchestra’s chief conductor. Under his leadership, the active touring activity of the orchestra began in its post-Soviet Russian period. Since 1990, the orchestra has been successfully touring in China, Japan, Germany, Austria, Mexico, Spain, Finland, Norway, Sweden, France, and Belgium.
In 1988, the orchestra started its performances in the Mirror Hall of the famous Princes Beloselsky-Belozersky Palace in the very heart of St. Petersburg, soon regaining the status of one of the city’s best concert venues to the hall.
In 2007, Alexander Titov, one of the most known Russian conductors of our days, became the orchestra’s artistic director and chief conductor.
The orchestra’s repertoire is really limitless, being a kind of its “visiting card”. They perform music of every epoch, genre, and style, with many premiere performances of opuses by today’s composers. For efficient creative activity and excellent professionalism, and for promotion of Russian art abroad, the orchestra was given the honorary title of “Academic”, which is only awarded in Russia to select musical collectives.
In 2008, the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alexander Titov launched a series of CD recordings of works by outstanding Russian composers created during the Great Patriotic war of 1941-1945. The first releases of the giant “Wartime Music” archive – opuses of G. Popov and N. Myaskovsky, V. Scherbachev and M. Weinberg, D. Shostakovich and S. Prokofiev, A. Mossolov and L. Knipper, Y. Kochurov and L. Polovinkin, O. Yevlakhov and R. Gliere had a noticeable impact on the professional music community and excited response from music lovers.
In 2012, Vladimir Lande (USA) became the orchestra's associate conductor.
Alexander Titov, conductor
Alexander Titov and the orcestra raised Stravinsky’s sparkling score to the boiling point.
(The Times, London, 1997)
Titov’s inspiration is in the charm of his excellence. Freedom of actions that are not restrained by technical problems or psychological opposition of the orchestra turns all nuances of sound development stated by the conductor into steady gestures, and these gestures are simple and elegant in a manly way.
(Chas Pik, St. Petersburg, 2000)
Conductor Alexander Titov is a preacher of Russian music of the 20th century. In his programs, he discovers unknown pages of the last century’s musical Russia.
(Kommersant, Moscow, 2006)
Alexander Titov was born in Leningrad in 1954. He graduated from Leningrad (currently St. Petersburg) Conservatory in three majors: Choral Conducting (with Professor A. V. Mikhailov, 1976), Piano (with Associate Professor V. V. Gensler, 1976), and Opera and Symphony Conducting (with Professor I. A. Musin, 1981.)
In 1988, Alexander Titov became a prize winner of the international conductors’ competition in Tokyo, Japan, and in 1990, he had probation in Tanglewood, USA. The musician toured in Japan, the USA, the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Holland, China, Columbia, Latvia, etc. He appeared with the BBC’s London and Scotland orchestras, at La Scala (Milan), La Fenice (Venice), Metropolitan Opera (New York), Covent Garden (London), and San Francisco Opera.
The vast theatrical repertoire of Alexander Titov includes over 50 performances: Tchaikovsky’s operas Eugene Onegin, Mazeppa, and The Queen of Spades, Glinka’s Ruslan and Lyudmila, Dargomyzhsky’s The Mermaid, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Koschei the Immortal and Czar’s Bride, Shostakovich’s Katerina Izmailova, Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges, The Gambler, Semen Kotko, and War and Peace, Stravinsky’s The Nightingale and The Rake’s Progress, Verdi’s La Traviata; Tchaikovsky’s ballets The Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker, and Prokofiev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet. The conductor’s concert repertoire includes symphony classics, large vocal/oratorio compositions: The German Requiem by Brahms, Messe Solennelle by Berlioz, The Bells by Rachmaninoff, Oedipus Rex by Stravinsky, Mahler’s symphonies, Carmina Burana by Orff, For the 20th Anniversary of the October Revolution by Prokofiev, The Story of Doctor Faust by Schnittke; multiple opuses of composers of the Russian avant-garde of the early 20th century, and today’s authors.
Alexander Titov has been teaching opera and symphony conducting at St. Petersburg Conservatory since 1987. He has several scientific publications, including the collections of articles “Piano Music in 1914-1927” and “Piano Music of Arthur Lurie”, and many annotations to compact discs. The conductor was awarded with diplomas of the “Gold Soffit”, St. Petersburg’s top theatrical prize, and the “Gold Mask” prize in the theatrical seasons of 2000-2001 and 2001-2002.
Alexander Titov is a regular participant of the international festivals “Stars of White Nights”, “From Avant-garde to Our Days”, the “Mariinsky” ballet festival, and the “Petersburg Musical Spring” festival. He has recorded over 80 compact discs.
Alexander Titov is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, Guest Conductor of the Mariinsky Theater, Conductor of the Bolshoi Theater (Moscow), Guest Conductor of the BBC Scotland Orchestra (Glasgow), Professor of St. Petersburg Conservatory, and bears the title of Hon. Artist of the Russian Federation.