Vladimir Jurowski conducts first ever joint concert by a Russian and a British Orchestra
War & Peace season culminates with Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony, premiered 70 years ago during the siege of Leningrad
Performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture marks the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino where Napoleon was defeated in Russia
Following Gustavo Dudamel and Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela’s jubilant residency, Southbank Centre’s Shell Classic International series returns on 3–5 October with a historic collaboration between two of the world’s leading orchestras from the UK and Russia. Jointly presented by Southbank Centre and Resident Orchestra the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the War & Peace season sees Vladimir Jurowski conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra over consecutive nights at the Royal Festival Hall, before culminating in an unprecedented joint concert on 5 October with top British and Russian orchestral musicians performing side by side.
Exploring the effects of war on music and literature in 20th century Russia and Britain, War & Peace features orchestral masterworks by Britten, Walton, Vaughan Williams, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and Tchaikovsky. The London Philharmonic Orchestra opens the Season on 3 October with Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Jurowski conducting Britten’s Sinfonia da Requiem, excerpts from Prokofiev’s War and Peace and Walton’s Viola Concerto with soloist Lawrence Power. On 4 October, Jurowski conducts the Russian National Orchestra in Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5 and Vaughan Williams’ Symphony No. 6.
The joint concert on 5 October, featuring more than 120 musicians including Principal players from both orchestras, opens with the 1812 Overture, Tchaikovsky’s symphonic depiction of Russia’s victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Borodino exactly 200 years ago. Following Britten’s Lachrymae (Reflections on a song of Dowland) with violist Lawrence Power, the concert concludes with Shostakovich’s epic Leningrad Symphony. Premiered 70 years ago during the Siege of Leningrad, the Leningrad Symphony remains a symbol of Russia’s resistance to totalitarianism and militarism and is still played today at the Piskarevskoye Cemetery where more than half a million victims of the Siege are buried.
The Moscow-born Vladimir Jurowski was appointed Music Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera in 2001 and became Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2007. He also served as Principal Guest Conductor of the Russian National Orchestra from 2005 to 2009. On the War & Peace season, Jurowski said, ‘The commemoration of two anniversaries – bicentenary of the Battle of Borodino and 70 years since the first performance of the Leningrad Symphony – is at the heart of this unusual festival of two orchestras: London Philharmonic Orchestra and Russian National Orchestra (the latter without doubts one of the very best Russian orchestras of today). My idea was to experience two great orchestras sharing each other’s repertoire and to probe into each composer’s profound yet vastly different responses to war and peace. I am sure these concerts will be a uniquely memorable experience for all the musicians and audience members alike.’
Founded in 1990, the Russian National Orchestra was Russia’s first independent orchestra and the first Russian orchestra to win a Grammy Award for its recording of Peter and the Wolf narrated by Sophia Loren, Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev. The first Russian orchestra to perform at the Vatican and in Israel, the Russian National Orchestra has made more than 75 recordings and was named Russia’s finest symphony orchestra by Gramophone in 2008.
Founded by Sir Thomas Beecham in 1932, the London Philharmonic Orchestra balances a long and distinguished history with a reputation as one of the UK’s most adventurous and forward-looking orchestras. The Orchestra has been performing at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since it opened in 1951, becoming Resident Orchestra in 1992. In summer 2012 the London Philharmonic Orchestra performed as part of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames, and was also chosen to record all the world’s national anthems for the London 2012 Olympics.