State Symphony Radio and Television Orchestra

The idea of creating the State Symphony Radio and Television Orchestra came in 1978 as an outgrowth of the need for the symphonic repertoire of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to be broadcast throughout Russia for the benefit of its citizens. It was decided the Orchestra should broadcast performances on a weekly basis, a concept based upon the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s very successful radio series in the United Kingdom.

The Orchestra expanded its activities into film work for Russian, European and American feature film productions as well as Russian television soundtracks. It has also done collaborative work with European television, including projects with the Italian RAI and German ZDF.

In 1980 the Orchestra created a major subscription series in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall. This subscription series of 36 weeks has continued successfully since its inaugural season. In addition, the Orchestra has toured extensively throughout Europe and Asia with concerts in Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Korea, China and Hong-Kong. The Orchestra has just returned from an American tour that was organized by Columbia Artists Inc. and turned out to be a real success.

The Orchestra’s first music director was Alexander Mikhailov, a student of Evgheny Mravinsky, founder and first music director of the Leningrad Philharmonic. Maestro Mikhailov studied and graduated with honors from the Moscow Conservatory, and headed the Orchestra till 1996. Then Igor Golovchin, Honored Artist of Russia, assumed the music directorship of the Orchestra. Golovchin was a pupil of Kiril Kondrashin and worked extensively with the Bolshoi Symphony and the Russian State Symphony in addition to many guest conducting assignments in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome and London.

From 1998 until July 2001 the Orchestra followed the European music tradition and did not have the permanent Chief Conductor. For projects it invited prominent Maestros from this country and abroad who contributed greatly to the mastery of the musicians. In July 2001 the Orchestra invited merited artist of Russia Pavel Sorokin to head the Orchestra and become its Principal Conductor..

In addition to the Orchestra’s extensive television, radio and film commitments, the Orchestra has performed at the invitation of President Boris Yelsin at the Kremlin Palace with the Moscow Classical Ballet in the performances of Nutcracker, Giselle, Don Quixote, Cinderella and The Firebird. The Orchestra works frequently with prominent opera singers from the Bolshoi Theatre, as well as singers from other countries. An outstanding concert on the Red Square in 1998 with Montserrat Caballet should be mentioned.

Under the stewardship of the Orchestra’s general director Anatoly Nemudrov, the Orchestra has enjoyed a demanding and rewarding international concert and recording schedule. The Orchestra has performed both with the Chorus and in orchestral concerts in most of the world capitals including Munich, Stutgart, Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, Florence, Seoul, Peking, Shanghai, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, New York and others. The Orchestra has also developed a comprehensive and extensive educational program to develop greater musical understanding among young audiences in Russia by exposing them to the symphonic and choral repertoire.

At present the State Radio and Television Orchestra is one of the best Moscow orchestras. Its activities are highly diversified. The Orchestra gives subscription concerts of “Young Stars of Russia” at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, concerts which are broadcast by various radio and television networks. The Orchestra regularly records CDs in cooperation with foreign firms. The Orchestra recently added a series of “Music Has No Borders” concerts with participation of foreign musicians and conductors at the Moscow House of Radio. A series of concerts titled “The Young People Parties” is planned to be integrated in a regular TV show of the Kultura TV channel.

The American press lavished praise on the Orchestra after its American tour:

The Kalamazoo Gazette said, “The Moscow State Radio and Television Orchestra has a wonderful string sound that is dominated by the large violin section. The purity and control of their sound made the simple Mascagni Intermezzo a sublime listening experience”.

The Lincoln Star Journal said, “Just to have been able to hear the Moscow State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform the Verdi Requiem is a miracle in itself”.

The Asheville Citizen Times said, “The Moscow State Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and the Chorus offered some of the best music heard all evening. The players were all consummate technicians who made the most difficult pieces seem easy”.

The Independent said, “What these musicians added to this challenging score was breath in the sub-phrases that made every little moment alive…The Muscovites gave us a concert to remember”.

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