State Moscow Chamber Orchestra (Orchestra)|
Music Director and
Conductor (since 2010) —
The New York Times wrote:
"What we heard was the peak of perfection <...>
our expectations were so far exceeded that one was left open-mouthed in admiration."
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra was created in 1956 by renowned conductor and violist Rudolf Barshai, and has long been considered a Russian national treasure.
The Orchestra attracted Russia’s greatest soloists on their many concert tours. David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonid Kogan, Yehudi Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter, Vladimir Spivakov and Victor Tretyakov graced the stages of the world’s most prestigious concert halls with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Recordings began to appear and receive prizes for their excellence. Their complete Mozart Symphonies have become collector’s items, and their unrivaled interpretations of the works of Vivaldi, Corelli, Albinoni and Boccherini became legendary. The most important Russian composers began writing music specifically for the Moscow Chamber Orchestra. Dmitry Shostakovich, who entrusted the first performance of his Fourteenth Symphony to the Orchestra, said: “This must be the greatest chamber orchestra in the world.”
After Rudolf Barshai’s emigration from the USSR, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra’s music directors were the eminent violinists Igor Bezrodny, Victor Tretyakov and Andre Korsakov. In 1991, a milestone in the history of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, the dazzling American pianist and conductor Constantine Orbelian was chosen to become Music Director of the orchestra. The appointment of San Francisco-born Maestro Orbelian to this most prestigious post was a breakthrough in Russian-American cultural relations.
The Orchestra’s present Music Director Constantine Orbelian has brought the MCO into a new era of international activity and acclaim since his appointment in 1991. For his remarkable achievements with the MCO, Orbelian was awarded the title “Honored Artist of Russia” by President Putin in 2004. Under Orbelian’s leadership the Orchestra was accorded the honor of “Academic” in its official Russian title (The State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia).
In 1998, Maestro Orbelian and the Moscow Chamber Orchestra started a whirlwind 55-city tour of North America, bringing the best of Russian and European orchestral music to audiences there since their last tour in 1978.
The orchestra’s 1998 North American tour covered 55 cities in two separate tours. In addition to performances in the major music centers, Carnegie Hall in New York, The Kravis Center in West Palm Beach, Herbst Theater in San Francisco, and the new Chan Center for the Performing Arts in Vancouver, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra also performed in Houston, Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Phoenix.
Over the last seven years, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra has maintained an intensive touring schedule with over 80 concerts a year throughout Europe, Asia, South America and Scandinavia and nearly 40 in Russia. Among MCO’s credits are performances with such world-renowned musicians as James Galway (flute), Patrick Gallois (flute), Nikolai Gedda (tenor), Susanna Mildonian (harp), Boris Pergamenshchikov (cello), Philipp Hirschorn (violin), Ilya Grubert (violin), Araxia Davtian (soprano), Lubov Kazarnovskaya (soprano), Vladimir Krainev (piano), and Ewa Podles (contralto) to name just a few. In May 1995, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra was Russia’s cultural ambassador at the 50th anniversary celebrations of the United Nations Organization in San Francisco. Also, in 1995 the Moscow Chamber Orchestra was the first Russian orchestra to tour South Africa. In 1996 the orchestra was invited to perform for Heads of State at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Charity Concert in Davos, Switzerland.
Over the last two years, several MCO recordings were released—on the CHANDOS label—with Paganini’s Violin Concertos Nos. 1 & 2 with the extraordinary violinist Ilya Grubert—first prize winner of the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow, a disc devoted to the music by Alexander Arutiunian including the Violin Concerto (Grubert), Sinfonietta for Strings, and Concertino for Piano and Orchestra with the composer’s daughter Narine Arutiunian as piano soloist, and Sergei Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony, Visions Fugitive and Violin Concerto No. 1 with Ilya Grubert.
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra also has a recent release on the PHILIPS label of the Complete works for Piano and Orchestra of Felix Mendelssohn, with the brilliant Brazilian pianist Jean Louis Steuerman.
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra’s acclaimed series of recordings with Maestro Orbelian on the Delos label numbers 18 recent releases, with four more currently in production. Both in its stellar recordings and electrifying live performances, the Orchestra attracts universal excitement. “They truly perform as a single, luminous, singing voice,” exclaimed Sensible Sound. As London’s The Daily Telegraph put it, “The musicians channel all of their emotion into the music and give performances of such passion and musicality, producing music making of both subtlety and verve.”
The “dynamic Moscow Chamber Orchestra” (New York Times) is one of the world’s great ensembles. First called “the greatest chamber orchestra in the world” by Dmitri Shostakovich, the Moscow Chamber Orchestra will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2006. The MCO’s 50th Anniversary season will feature music written or arranged for the Orchestra, in addition to music long associated with the MCO’s illustrious history.