BSO lands a big one Yuri Temirkanov: Conductor now leads Russia's most celebrated orchestra.

October 30, 1997

THE BALTIMORE Symphony Orchestra, in its search for a successor to David Zinman, has landed a big one -- Yuri Temirkanov, considered one of the world's leading conductors.

Now director of Russia's finest orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, and principal guest conductor of London's Royal Philharmonic, Mr. Temirkanov has guest-conducted everywhere important and recorded profusely.

It is a tribute to Mr. Zinman (who raised the symphony's excellence and eminence in 13 years as music director), and to his predecessor, Sergiu Comissiona, that this time the Baltimore Symphony could attract a conductor far more renowned than they were upon coming here. Each conductor grew in stature and reputation through attentive nurturing of this orchestra.

The stylish Mr. Temirkanov can hardly get bigger than he is today. His agreement to come is a statement that the BSO has arrived.

Going after him and catching him showed confidence on the part of the orchestra and its players, trustees and management. The BSO is dealing from strength. And there are prices to pay, a trade-off to be made that the BSO clearly feels able as well as willing to make.

Mr. Temirkanov will guest-conduct this year but will not take up his position until January 2000. Mr. Zinman is fully engaged this season as its music director. That puts on the orchestra management the obligation not to let the ensemble sound, or the market attraction, dissipate. The BSO needs stellar guest conductors, soloists and programs in the 1998-1999 season and the start of the next.

When he arrives, Mr. Temirkanov will not give up his other associations. His name will probably be forever linked with St. Petersburg in the musical public's mind.

But like those of other trans-Atlantic conductors, his name in the United States will become synonymous with his American orchestra. Mr. Temirkanov is committed to a relatively brief season here of 12 weeks, giving the highly talented musicians a greater obligation to keep up their own sound and consistency through a greater array of guest conductors than in the past.

This is an exciting announcement. It also is a promise of even greater ambitions than in the past on the part of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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