Leningrad première of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7
The Leningrad première of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 took place on 9 August 1942 during the Second World War, while the city (now Saint Petersburg) was under siege by Nazi German forces. Dmitri Shostakovich (pictured) had intended for the piece to be premièred by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra, but they had been evacuated because of the siege, along with the composer, and the world première was instead held in Kuybyshev. The Leningrad première was performed by the surviving musicians of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra, supplemented with military performers. Most of the musicians were starving, and three died during rehearsals. Supported by a Soviet military offensive intended to silence German forces, the performance was a success, prompting an hour-long ovation. The symphony was broadcast to the German lines by loudspeaker as a form of psychological warfare. The Leningrad première was considered by music critics to be one of the most important artistic performances of the war because of its psychological and political effects. Reunion concerts featuring surviving musicians were convened in 1964 and 1992 to commemorate the event.
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