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Stanislav Kochanovsky appointed Chief conductor of The State Safonov Philharmonic Orchestra

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The official date of birth of the of the Philharmonic is 1895 - the year of construction of the famous Kursal of Kislovodsk - the main building of the Philharmonic, and the same year a permanent symphony orchestra has been founded - now the State Safonov Philharmonic Orchestra.

Kislovodsk city is compared to the best German resorts, L.N. Tolstoy, I.E. Repin, D.N. Mamin-Siberiak and others used to come here for treatment and rest. But in order to finally consolidate Kislovodsk’s glory of the most beautiful resort in the empire, something special was needed. Without waiting for the railway line to be completed, in the summer of 1892, Vladikavkaz Railway Board ordered the young architect Valerian Gusev to design and build the Kislovodsk Kursaal.

Kursaal (i.e. resort hall, used for the amusement and entertainment of the public) was considered to be the center of theatrical and musical life. As planned by the Vladikavkaz Railway Board, everyone coming to Kislovodsk faced the majestic and incomparable Kursaal building as they got down from the train station and headed into the city. Since then the front facade with two strict towers, topped with scaly white domes, has indelibly impressed the public. In guidebooks from the early 20th century it was written: "...It is remarkable that the building has four facades. It seems in many ways beautiful from all sides. It is built of cut stone. The theatric part could beautify any city. The auditorium is decorated in velvet, bronze and stucco. It accommodates 650 spectators. In the day time, vacationers can check out the Georgian cuisine restaurant, in which a Neapolitan orchestra is always playing, and the musicians are located behind thick glass, illuminated by colored lights. Evenings can be spent in the billiard room for a game of cards or visit the new show, which is given in the concert hall almost every day”.

The preliminary project was ready by the autumn of 1892. It was immediately approved by the Department of Railways, with a number of significant stipulations. A year later, the architect Gusev was sent on a mission to the Caucasian Mineral Waters to develop a detailed design of the project. The young civil engineer Eugene Deskubesa was also sent there and he seriously altered the original design. According to the final version, the construction consisted of several parts: the northern, where restaurants for tourists and a kitchen were situated, and the southern, with a large concert hall. In August 1895, the northern Kursaal was opened. The grand opening of the giant concert hall took place only a year later, in June 1896. The entire project cost the society of the Vladikavkaz Railway Board nearly a million imperial rubles, which is equivalent to a billion rubles today.

The architectural style of the Kursaal’s ensemble can be compared to the Modern with features of the French Neo-Renaissance. This style uses forms of the Italian Renaissance of the 15th-16th centuries, which gives the buildings an impression of grandeur and solemnity. The ensemble of the Kursaal, in addition to the main building with a concert hall, a kitchen and a restaurant, also consisted of a bandstand – the “Musical shell”, also known as the “Crystal shell”. Thanks to the double-skinned roof and broken glass under the scene, it has excellent acoustics. A bridge leads from the Kursaal to the park with a playground, tennis courts and a small zoo.

During World War II, the Kursaal building housed a military hospital. Now there are the Great Hall of the State Philharmonic, the Theater named after A.Gorky for 1000 spectators, the Museum of Musical Culture of the Vladikavkaz Railway Board and a hotel. After the reconstruction, the Grand Philharmonic Hall was rebuilt in its present form: a shiny parquet floor, red velvet and originally tuned light. The curtain for the stage is made as it had been in the first theatrical season. F.Chaliapin played ten seasons on the Philharmonic stage, L.Sobinov, A.Nezhdanova and Mattia Battistini sang here, Isadora Duncan danced, and the last concert of S.Rachmaninoff in the Caucasian Mineral Waters was played here. Many outstanding masters conducted the local symphony orchestra: V.Safonov, composers A.Glazunov, E.Napravnik and M.Ippolitov-Ivanov, and such famous conductors as N.Golovanov, B.Khaikin, E.Mravinsky and N.Rachlin.