Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Night at the St. Petersburg Grand Philharmonic

One of the really neat things about working at the Consulate in Public Affairs is the opportunity to get out and about around the city for all sorts of events.  Last night I was given a ticket to the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, and it was amazing!  Not only was this a first-class, world renowned group of musicians, but to listen to them play on the very stage from which Tchaikovsky often conducted was an all-around spectacular experience. 

St. Petersburg Philharmonic Grand Hall
This is what the hall looks like today.  I was sitting in the center left section, eighth row back, and it was both a nice view as well as good acoustics. I borrowed this snippet about the history of the hall from the philharmonic website:

"This Hall, where today is the Philharmonic, was built in 1839 by the architect P. Jacot (the facade designed by C. Rossi) for the Noble Assembly of St. Petersburg.
The first-class acoustics hall, built to hold more than 1,500 people,  became a center of musical life in St. Petersburg 
since the late 1840's. There were well-known musicians of the nineteenth century: Liszt, H. Berlioz, Wagner, G. Mahler, A. Rubinstein, K. Schumann, Pauline Viardot, P. Sarasate and others. Here we first heard many of the writings of the classics of Russian music by Borodin, Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov, and more."

Traditional Russian
instrument: Balalaika

Yesterday's performance was a special one.  The orchestra wasn't the normal western style violin-viola-cello-accompanied-by-wind-instruments orchestra; it was primarily made up of Russian traditional instruments like the balalaika, domra, and gusai, to name a few. I'd never heard many of these before, and I bet you probabaly haven't either. So while I can't transport you here, I hope you'll watch the following video to get a sense of the sound. Make sure you watch all the way to the end - it's the best part!

Famous Russian conductor Dmitri Hohlov
Attending events like this on a diplomatic pass has its perks.  After the concert we went backstage to meet the conductor - a very well-known and respected Russian man named Dmitri Hohlov - and congratulate him on a beautiful performance.  He really is a lovely man and very kindly autographed our programs. I'm looking forward to attending more events at the Philharmonic!


  1. Shirah:

    What a great opportunity you have earned for yourself.I am thrilled you are sharing your moments like this with family and friends. It broadens all of our perpespectives.

    Love you, Gramps

  2. Totally, totally, totally, totally awesome!!!
    I so wish I could be there for that.


  3. Shirah,
    You are among such a privileged few to see and do the things you are seeing and doing and I am so pleased to know that you know it and appreciate the fact and are sharing it with the rest of us. Love you very much!


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