Upbeat: Russian friends

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The Independent Culture
ONE group that would miss Max as well as the money is the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, where he is associate conductor / composer and often presents his own pieces. Nothing daunted, it too has been busy looking to the wider world. Current concert programmes have trailed an ambitious plan for touring the globe on behalf of the United Nations. More immediately, setting its sights on Russia, it is launching a collaboration with the Kirov Opera in St Petersburg and its artistic director Valery Gergiev.

First fruit is a concert performance of Tchaikovsky's opera Iolanta at the Royal Albert Hall on 6 December, when Gergiev conducts the RPO and London Choral Society with Kirov soloists. More about the 'Royal Philharmonic Mariinsky-Kirov Series' will be announced next month. A London-based Friends of the Kirov Opera association is being launched at the same time, under the presidency of Placido Domingo.

Meanwhile a longer-standing Russian associate of the RPO, its principal conductor Yuri Temirkanov, has been reelected to his main job as music director of the St Petersburg Philharmonic by what is said to be 'a substantial majority' of the players. He was first chosen in 1988 as successor to Yevgeny Mravinsky. The election is unusual in that, by tradition, conductors there keep the position for life. You can check up on the relationship at the Barbican on Monday and Tuesday, when they perform Rachmaninov, Stravinsky and Prokofiev.