The Mariinsky Orchestra enjoys a long and distinguished history as one of the oldest musical institutions in Russia. Founded in (1753) during the reign of Peter the Great and housed in St. Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theatre (1860), the Orchestra now performs also in its superb 21st century concert hall (2006) and its second opera house (2013) built for modern stage technologies.
Following the orchestra’s "golden age" in the second half of the 19th century under the musical direction of Eduard Napravnik, numerous internationally famed musicians have conducted the Orchestra, among them Hans von Bülow, Felix Mottl, Felix Weingartner, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Otto Nikisch, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schoenberg, Willem Mengelberg, Otto Klemperer, Bruno Walter, and Erich Kleiber.
Renamed the "Kirov" during the Soviet era, the Orchestra continued to maintain its high artistic standards under the leadership of Yevgeny Mravinsky and Yuri Temirkanov. The leadership of Valery Gergiev and the success of the Orchestra's frequent tours hassled to the reputation of what one journalist referred to as "the world's first global orchestra" and has enabled the Theatre to forge important relationships for the Ballet and Opera to appear in the world's greatest opera houses and theatres, among them the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the San Francisco Opera, the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Salzburg Festival and La Scala in Milan.
Since its US debut in 1992 the orchestra has made 17 tours of North America, including a 2006 celebration of the complete Shostakovich symphonies, a Cycle of Stage Works of Prokofiev in 2008, major works of Hector Berlioz in February/March 2010, a Centennial Mahler Cycle in Carnegie Hall in October 2010, and in October 2011, the Mariinsky Orchestra opened Carnegie Hall's 120th season with a cycle of Tchaikovsky Symphonies which was also performed throughout the US and in Canada.
Maestro Gergiev established the Mariinsky Label in 2009 and has since released over 20 recordings to date receiving critical acclaim in Europe, Asia, and the United States.