Orchestras, musicians

Symphony orchestra of radio «Orpheus»

Symphony orchestra of radio “Orpheus” was founded 15 years ago. It is the only orchestra in Russia specializing in creating content for the classical music radio station “Orpheus”. Musicians of the highest professional level play in the orchestra. It is led by conductor Sergei Kondrashev, the disciple of the great Russian masters Mark Ermler and Gennady Rozhdestvensky. The artistic director of the ensemble is targeted at revival and continuation of the great performing traditions of Russian and Soviet symphony orchestras of the twentieth century.

Apart form the main task of the orchestra - creating radio, television and the internet content - the artistic director sets one more task, that of recording works by Russian composers. During the recent years the pieces composed by Petr Tchaikovsky, Anatoly Liadov, Aleksandr Glazunov, Anton Rubinstein and some other composers have been recorded.

Symphony orchestra of radio “Orpheus” creates a unique music database, making recordings of the scores from the library of Russian State Musical TV and Radio Centre. This musical library was set up in the 1920s and initially belonged to All-Union Radio. It is the place where really unique, invaluable scores are stored - many of them exist only in the handwritten original version. The recordings made by Symphony orchestra of radio “Orpheus” can be listened to not only in the air of radio “Orpheus”, but also in the air of European radio stations - members of European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The repertoire of the orchestra includes the most famous works of Russian and foreign classical music. It regularly holds concerts at the best concert halls of Moscow, working with such world opera stars and outstanding musicians as Maria Gulegina, Vladislav Piavko, Ennio Morricone, Anatoly Kroll, Zurab Sotkilava, Makvala Kasrishvili, Elena Zaremba (Grammy award winner), Ascar Abdrazakov, participants of the art project “Tenors of XXI century” and many others. The orchestra is a regular participant of the project “Russian Composers’ Heritage Revival”.

Kozhevnikov Choir

State Academic Moscow Regional Kozhevnikov Choir is one of the oldest glorious ensembles in Russia. It was founded in 1956 by the People’s Artist of the USSR Vladislav Sokolov, professor of Moscow State P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory.

The creative nature of the choir is really multifaceted and varied. It was the first performer of a lot of the famous musical pieces, among which are “Ivan the Terrible” by Sergei Prokofiev, “Requiem” by Dmitri Kabalevsky, “Liturgy” by Alexander Aliabiev, sacred concerts by Stepan Degtiarev and Vasily Titov, “Mass” by the Belgian composer Joseph Jongen, “Requiem in memory of Leonid Kogan” by the Italian composer Franco Mannino.

For three years, from 2011 to 2014, the choir was led by its principal conductor and artistic director Janna Kolotiy. Since 2014 it has been led by Nikolai Azarov.

The choir regularly takes part in state events and public celebrations. It is warmly welcome in large concert halls, musical schools and palaces of culture. The tours of this regional ensemble both in Russia and abroad are always accompanied by real success. Geography of the tours is really impressive - they cover the former USSR republics and a lot of European countries: Austria, Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, South Korea, Japan, Poland, Rumania, Finland and France. The renewed choir lives really saturated creative life.

The artistic director and principal choirmaster of State Academic Moscow Regional Kozhevnikov Choir is Nikolai Azarov.

The choir took part in the concert “Unknown Mossolov”.

Artistic Director and Main Conductor - Professor Lev Kontorovich

“Grand Choir is one of the best choirs in our country. I really enjoy each encounter with these wonderful musicians.” - Dmitry Shostakovich, composer
“I find the Choir fantastic. The musicians sing in German so perfectly that I tend to forget that I’m listening to a Russian choir.” - Helmuth Rilling, conductor
“The Choir under direction of Lev Kontorovich is amazing. It is fantastically flexible, masterful and full of charm” - Dmitry Hvorostovsky, singer

“Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” was set up in 1928 under the name “Grand Choir”. Its founder and the first Artistic Director was a prominent master of choral arts Alexander Sveshnikov. At various periods of its existence the choir has been led by several great musicians, among which was Nikolai Golovanov, the main conductor of the Bolshoi Theatre.

In 2005 Prof. Lev Kontorovich was invited to head “Grand Choir”, which by that time had got the addition to its name - “Grand Choir Masters of Choral Singing”. Under maestro’s leadership the choir successfully follows the traditions set by his predecessors. The choir’s name - “Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” - reflects its professionalism, high level of performance, as well as exceptional efficiency and versatility of the ensemble where each performer can sing both as a chorister and a soloist. Any recording of the choir becomes part of Radio Orpheus content.

During 90 years the choir has performed more than 15,000 pieces belonging to different epochs and genres: operas, oratorios and cantatas by Russian and foreign composers, a cappella works, folk songs, Russian and European sacred music. A lot of them have become part of the golden fund of the national sound recording and gained international recognition (Grand Prix of the competition of recordings in Paris and Gold Medal in Valencia). “Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” was the first performer of works by Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitry Shostakovich, Rodion Shchedrin, Aram Khachaturian, Vladislav Agafonnikov and many other prominent Russian composers.

At various times such outstanding conductors, singers and musicians as Evgeny Svetlanov, Mstislav Rostropovich, Vladimir Spivakov, Dmitry Kitaenko, Vladimir Fedoseev, Helmuth Rilling, Michel Plasson, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Alberto Zedda, Ennio Morricone, Vladimir Jurowski, Mikhail Plentev, Christoph Eschenbach, Elena Ovraztsova, Irina Arkhipova, Nikolai Gedda, Dmitry Hvorostovsky, Anna Netrebko, Zurab Sotkilava, Evgeny Nesterenko, Roberto Alanya, Angela Gheorghiu, Vassily Ladyuk worked with the choir.

“Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” on a regular basis takes part in several important musical events in Russia and abroad: Valery Gergiev’s Moscow Easter Festival, Moscow Festival of Classical Music “Christmas Fest” (Artistic Directors Vladimir Spivakov and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev), Moscow Lenten Choral Festival (Artistic Directors Aleksander Sokolov and Metropolitan Hilarion (Alfeev), International Music Festival in Colmar, Ravello Festival 2017 (Italy), International Mstislav Rostropovich Festival, Festival “Opera Live”, Denis Matsuev’s “Crescendo” Festival and others. Within the frames of the International Music Festival in Colmar (France) the choir performed “The Damnation of Faust” by H. Berlioz under the baton of legendary Michel Plasson (2017).

In creative co-operation with Maestro Helmuth Rilling (Germany), his orchestra and soloists “Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” has successfully performed great works by J. S. Bach “The Great Mass in B minor”, “Christmas Oratorio”, “St. John Passion”, “St. Matthew Passion”, “Magnificat” and others.

“Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” has enjoyed enthusiastic welcome at the best stages of Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Israel, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Japan, South Korea, Republic of Costa Rica, Qatar, Indonesia and some other countries. The choir often tours in Russian regions including the Urals, Siberia and the Far East.

As part of cooperation in the area of musical exchange within the frames of EBU (Pink Offers) 8 recordings of the choir were submitted in 2016 and 7 concerts - in 2017. Altogether in the period 2011-2018 26 concerts have been offered, with the total duration of around 32 hours. Member radio stations have broadcast the recordings of the choir 3,424 hours during the same period (107 orders).

The choir has also taken part in Euroradio Christmas project, presenting the world premiers of Vladislav Agafonnikov’s concerto “God Is With Us”, as well as his Canon of Nativity “Christ is Born, Glorify Him” in 2012, Vladimir Rubin’s oratorio “Christmas Star” in 2013, Nikolai Golovanov’s sacred works in 2014 and Sergio Frigerio’s Christmas cycle from the project Per Crucem Ad Astra in 2017. In December 2018 the choir is going to share the concert of Pavel Chesnokov’s sacred music.

As regards the Euroradio Easter project, the choir performed Metropolitan Hilarion’s works - fragments of “Divine Liturgy” in 2015, “Stabat Mater” and “Song of Ascent” in 2017 (the latter two conducted by Vladimir Spivakov). In 2018 the Easter cycle from the project Per Crucem ad Astra by Sergio Frigerio was shared.

On the whole, (Pink Offers, Christmas Project and Easter project) the recordings of “Grand Choir of Radio Orpheus Masters of Choral Singing” have been broadcast by EBU member radio stations for more than 3,510 hours since 2011.

The choir is full of creative plans and looks forward to meeting its audiences.