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Conducting my first concert in St. Petersburg since seven years

After my concerts in Mikkeli I headed to east across the border, to my favorite city St. Petersburg. I was invited to perform a Scandinavian program with the St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony Orchestra, which was better known as "Martynov's Orchestra" during my studies. For a long time it was headed by the formidable Ravil Martynov, whose son Timur Martynov is currently the principal trumpet of the Mariinsky Orchestra.

My program opened with Carl Nielsen's Helios Overture, the concerto was Grieg Piano Concerto with a young Russian virtuoso Arseny Mun, and the program ended with the magnificent second symphony of Jean Sibelius. This for me was the first time conducting the second symphony, although it was one of the first scores I studied when I first got excited about conducting, and I had also played it a couple of times in the cello section as a student.

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Arseni Mun and the SPBSSO

Our first performance was in the White Hall of the St. Petersburg Technical University. I never imagined this kind of "mini-filharmonia" could exist so far from the centre of the city, and I was even more delighted to see the hall full to the last seat. I gave also an interview which you can read parts of on the official website of the White Hall.

The following day we performed the same program in the palace of Beloselskih-Belozerskih at the Nevsky Prospekt. Again, the hall was sold out and some extra chairs were carried in the hall. One friend of mine had to attend to the concert standing! It felt great to be back working in St. Petersburg and make contact with the cultured and enthusiastic public of the Cultural Capital of the Russian Federation.