The Russia School of Classical Music has greatly contributed to the genre of symphonic music. By the beginning of the 20th century, many Western composers were influenced by Russian music. Studying in St. Petersburg, I am glad that I have the opportunity to attend symphonic concerts that feature Russian composers. I have already seen several symphonic concerts by orchestras housed in St. Petersburg so it was a nice change to get to hear an orchestra from another region in Russian. It was a pleasure to see the Symphony Orchestra of the State Primorsky Theater of Opera and Ballet perform under the direction of Anton Lubchenko. This concert program also featured the pianist Yekaterina Mechetina.
The Symphony Orchestra of the State Primorsky Theater of Opera and Ballet was founded in 2013. The orchestra is comprised of eighty-four musicians who are graduates of music institutions from Russian and other international cities. This ensemble tours the Primorsky Region as part of the music festival The Key to Primorsk. Some of the musical projects that they presented included A Tchaikovsky Marathon and A Prokofiev Marathon, in which all of the composers’ piano concerti were formed. The orchestra was also apart of the music festival entitled The Fifteen Symphonies of Shostakovich. In May and June of this year, the Primorsky Theater held a festival marking 175 years since the birth of Tchaikovsky, which featured chamber and symphonic music, operas, and ballets of the composer.
Yekaterina Mechetina began studying music at the age of four. At age ten, she won the Grand Prix at the Mozart Competition in Vienna and at age thirteen she won second prize and the Special Prize at the I Chopin Young Pianists Competition is Moscow. At the age of sixteen, she was the youngest prizewinner at the International Busoni Piano Competition in Bolzano (Italy). Mechetina graduated from the Central School of Music of the Moscow Conservatory and the Moscow Conservatory. She also undertook postgraduate studies at the Conservatory. She is the recipient of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Prize For Forming an Objective Image of Russia Internationally and the Russian Presidential Prize for Young Artists (2010). Since 2009, Mechetina has taught at the Moscow Conservatory.
Anton Lubchenko studied composition and conducting at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. In 2006, he wrote the opera The Son of Man in memory of the victims of the tragedy in Beslan. Lubchenko made his conducting debut at the Toronto Opera in 2009. Since 2010, he has been the director of the international music festival The Seasons. Lubchenko created a new orchestral version of Sergei Prokofiev’s opera The Story of a Real Man in 2012. In 2013, he was appointed Artistic and General Director and Principal Conductor of the State Primorsky Opera and Ballet Theater.
The symphonic works that were featured on this program was Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s The Voyevoda, Op. 78 (1891) and The Tempest, Op. 18 (1873), Sergei Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini in A minor, Op. 43 (1934), and Sergei Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 44 (1928). What made attending this concert extra special was I was able to enjoy this concert with a fellow student from SRAS. She is student from Texas A&M who plays the violin in an orchestra and a Mariachi group. Throughout this semester, we would talk about how much we miss playing on our respective instruments and I was glad that she was able to join me for an orchestral concert. It was her first concert at the Mariinsky Theaters and she had a wonderful time. There is nothing I love more than bonding with other people through Classical music.
The Symphony Orchestra of the State Primorsky Theater Of Opera and Ballet
Yekaterina Mechetina (piano)
Anton Lubchenko (conductor)
Mariinsky Theater Concert Hall
About the Contributor:
Jesika Berry holds a bachelors of arts in music performance (flute) from Spelman College in Atlanta Georgia. She has formerly been a principle flautist for AUC Symphony Orchestra (Atlanta) and a cellist for the Huxford Symphony Orchestra (Tuscaloosa). After completing SRAS’s Home and Abroad Scholarship program, she hopes to go on to graduate studies in Russian musicology.