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Mikhail Shcherbakov

Mikhail Shcherbakov

Artistic director and chief conductor of Samara Philharmonic Orchestra, People’s Artist of Russia

Mikhail Shcherbakov has broad musical education: in 1969 he finished musical school at the Urals State Conservatory, and in 1975 graduated from the Urals State Conservatory, Professor Naum Schwarz' class of violin.

For the next 10 years he worked as the leader of the Yekaterinburg Opera House Orchestra conducted by E.V. Kolobov, who inspired Mr. Shcherbakov to pursue his career. In 1982 Mikhail Shcherbakov studied opera and symphony orchestra conducting at the Urals State Conservatory with Professor Mark Paverman.

After that Mr. Shcherbakov worked as a conductor in the Chechen-Ingushetia Orchestra and the Yaroslavl Orchestra (1986–1988). In 1988–1993 Mr. Shcherbakov was an Artistic Director and Conductor of the Astrakhan Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra. Since 1991 Mikhail Shcherbakov is the Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of Samara Philharmonic Orchestra.

From his first steps in this position Mr. Shcherbakov has established a reputation of an initiative and audacious person. He initiated five international musical festivals that took place in Samara and featured primarily young musicians from the USA, Russia and Latin America (1991–1994). Maestro Shcherbakov recorded programmes by Russian and American composers and a CD of Russian music. The Samara Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mikhail Shcherbakov successfully performed in Moscow for the first time with eleven original programmes.

In 1993 the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the title “Academic”, which is used to denote the best orchestras and theatres in Russia.

The Orchestra was invited by Russian Ministry of Culture to the International Music Festival in Tunisia (1993) and to the Tchaikovsky Festival in China (1994). Later the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra gave successful performances in Spain (1996), and Germany (1997). Mikhail Shcherbakov was invited to conduct performances in Canada (1989), the USA, Germany (1996), Cuba (1997), the UK (London).

Mikhail Shcherbakov has gained a reputation of an excellent organiser and initiator of musical events, an unorthodox interpreter of Russian and foreign music. Mr. Shcherbakov was key to organising “Symphony Orchestra” Charitable Fund and Board of Guardians led by Samara Region Governor Mr. Titov and including representatives of Samara business circles and establishment.

Mikhail Shcherbakov and the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra often feature contemporary Russian and Samara music by such composers as A. Berdugin, M. Levyant, A. Tchaikovsky, E. Denisov, S. Slonimsky, V. Bibergan, etc. In 1997–1998 concert season a cycle of concerts “Portraits of Contemporary Composers” with the composers' participation was organised. Various Russian composers, like Tikhon Khrennikov, Rodion Shchedrin, Sergey Slonimsky, A. Tchaikovsky, A. Berdugin, highly praised the compositions conducted by Mikhail Shcherbakov.

Maestro Shcherbakov constantly acquaints Samara public with winners of international competitions and “Tchaikovsky Festival”, such as A. Gindin, D. Koch, S. Gerzmava, A. Matsuyev, N. Sanchenko, D. Shapovalov, Ye. Manistina and others.

Mikhail Shcherbakov enjoys sharing the stage with such outstanding musicians as Nikolai Petrov, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Krainev, Victor Tretyakov, Yury Bashmet, Irina Arhipova, Nikolai Putilin, Sergey Slonimsky, Mikhail Pletnyov.

Mikhail Shcherbakov has an original talent and is known for his unusual interpretation of music, not common to provincial conductors. He is not afraid of breaking the stereotypes and radiates his temperament and artistic energy. His interpretations awaken creative imagination and change audience's perception of music. Mr. Shcherbakov intentionally brings musical celebration into provincial life. He believes that geographical position of a city does not mean that this city cannot be a musical centre of the country. This is determined by a person, a conductor who skilfully discovers paths connecting musicians to audience.

The public showed growing interest to various programmes of the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra: “Symphonic Assemblies“, “Portraits of Contemporary Composers”, “At the Boundary of the Millennium”, “Symphonic Opening Day”, “Let the Descendants of Orthodox Christians Know“ (devoted to 2000 years of Christianity), “Masterpieces of World Symphonic Music”, Musical Festival connected with Alexander S. Pushkin's 200th Anniversary (where poetic symphony “Pushkin” by A. Petrov was performed), International Festival “Young Stars of the 21st Century” (2001).

Mikhail Shcherbakov gave concerts in Moscow with The Tchaikovsky Bolshoi Symphony Orchestra and the Russian State Symphony Orchestra. These performances had tremendous success with the public.

Local and national press, radio and television closely follow Mikhail Shcherbakov's artistic career, give reviews and broadcast concerts of the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2001 Mikhail Shcherbakov was awarded the honorary title of a National Artist of Russian Federation.

In 2002 the Samara Philharmonic Orchestra became prize-winner of All-Russia Festival for “The Best Interpretation of a Musical Piece”.

In 2003 Mikhail Shcherbakov won “Conductor of the Year” Award from “Muzykal'noye Obozreniye” (Musical Review) newspaper.