History of orchestra

Artistic Director - Vladimir Jurowski

In 2016 the State Academic Symphony Orchestra of Russia "Evgeny Svetlanov", one of the country’s oldest symphonic ensembles: next year the Orchestra will celebrate 85th anniversary. The State Orchestra debut performance under the baton of Alexander Gauk and Erich Kleiber on 5 October 1936 at the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory.

During the years, the orchestra has been led by outstanding musicians such as Alexander Gauk (1936-1941), Natan Rakhlin (1941-1945), Konstantin Ivanov (1946-1965), and Evgeny Svetlanov (1965-2000). On 27 October 2005 the State Academic Symphony Orchestra was officially named after E. F. Svetlanov. From 2000 to 2002 the orchestra was headed by Vasily Sinaisky, and from 2002 to 2011 by Mark Gorenstein.

In 2011 Vladimir Jurowski, a world-renowned conductor collaborating with many leading opera companies and orchestras, was appointed as the Artistic Director of the Svetlanov Symphone Orchestra. Starting with a season 2016/2017 Vasily Petrenko is the Principal Guest Conductor of the orchestra.

The orchestra has performed at the most prestigious venues, such as the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, Bolshoi Theatre, Pillar Hall of the House of the Unions, the State Kremlin Palace (Moscow), Carnegie Hall (New York), the Kennedy Center (Washington, DC), Musikverein (Vienna), the Royal Albert Hall (London), Salle Pleyel (Paris), Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), and Suntory Hall (Tokyo). In 2013 the orchestra had a performance at the Moscow Red Square for the first time.

The orchestra was conducted by H. Abendroth, E. Ansermet, L. Blech, N. Golovanov, K. Sanderling, O. Klemperer, K. Kondrashin, L. Maazel, K. Masur, N. Malko, I. Markevitch, E. Mravinsky, C. Munch, M. Rostropovich, G. Rozhdestvensky, S. Sondeckis, I. Stravinsky, A. Jansons, A. Boreyko, A. Vedernikov, V. Gergiev, C. Dutoit, A. Lazarev, I. Marin, A. Sladkovsky, L. Slatkin, Y. Temirkanov, T. Zehetmair, M. Jurowski, N. Jarvi and other great musicians.

Among the outstanding soloists who have performed with the orchestra are singers I. Arkhipova, G. Vishnevskaya, M. Caballe, S. Lemeshev, E. Obraztsova, D. Hvorostovsky, M. Guleghina, P. Domingo and J. Kaufmann; pianists E. Gilels, V. Cliburn, H. Neuhaus, N. Petrov, S. Richter, M. Yudina, V. Afanassiev, B. Berezovsky, E. Virsaladze, E. Kissin, N. Lugansky, D. Matsuev and G. Sokolov; violinists L. Kogan, Y. Menuhin, D. Oistrakh, B. Belkin, M. Vengerov, G. Kremer, V. Pikayzen, V. Repin, V. Spivakov, V. Tretyakov, and violist Y. Bashmet; cellists M. Rostropovich, N. Gutman, A. Kniazev, and A. Rudin; the Orchestra gas also perfomed with such choirs like A. Sveshnikov State Academic Russian Choir and A. Yurlov State Academic Choir of Russia.

Recently, this roster was expanded to add singers I. Abdrazakov, D. Alieva, A. Garifullina, H. Gerzmava, D. Korchak, E. Kulmann, J. Cura, V. Ladiuk, J. Lezhneva, W. Meier, A. Netrebko and R. Pape; pianists M. A. Hamelin, L. O. Andsnes, R. Buchbinder, S. Trpeski, J. Y. Thbaudet and M. Uchida; violinists K. Barati, I. Gringolts, A. Ibragimova, L. Kavakos, P. Kopachinskaja, S. Krylov, N. Radulovic, J. Rachlin, J. Fischer, T. Zehetmair, N. Znaider and P. Zukerman. A lot of attention is also devoted to collaboration with young musicians such as conductors M. Emeljanchev, D. Matvienko, M. Stravinsky, V. Yryupin and P. Chizhevsky; pianists A. Gugnin, L. Debargue, P. Kopachevsky and D. Masleev; violinists A. Bayeva, A. Pritchin and P. Milyukov and cellist A. Ramm.

Ever since it’s first tour abroad in 1956 the orchestra regularly represents Russian culture in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Denmark, Italy, Canada, China, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, USA, Thailand, France, Czechoslovakia, Switzerland, South Korea, Japan and many other countries.

The orchestra’s discography includes hundreds of vinyl records and CDs released by leading Russian and foreign labels such as Melodiya, Bomba-Piter, Delos, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI Classics, BMG, Naxos, Chandos, Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm, BelAir, ICA Classics, Pentatone, Toccata Classics, Fancymusic and others. The special place in this list belongs to the Anthology of the Russian Symphonic Music encompassing audio recordings of Russian composers from M.Glinka to I.Stravinsky (conductor – Evgeny Svetlanov). Mezzo, Rossiya 1, and Kultura television companies, digital channel Medici.tv as well as Radio "Orpheus" also made recordings of a number of performances of the orchestra.

Lately the orchestra has performed at the Grafenegg Festival (Austria), "Another space" festival, "Svetlanov - Universe!" and  XIII Moscow International Festival "Guitar Virtuosi" in Moscow, II Music Festival “Summer. Music. Museum” in Istra. The orchestra performed world premieres of works by A. Vustin, S. Goss, V. Ekimovsky, E. Podgaits, S. Slonimskiy, V. Nikolaev, A. Retinsky, A. Tchaikovsky, J. Sherling, and Russian premieres of works by J. Adams, L. van Beethoven – G. Mahler, G. Grisey, V. Kisin, D. Kurtag, V. Silvestrov, O. Messiaen, R. Schedrin, A. Skryabin – A. Nemtin, C. Orff, G. Gladkov, V. Tarnopolskiy, K. Stockhausen. Moreover, the orchestra took part in the XVI International Tchaikovsky Competition as well as in the I and II International competitions for young pianists “Grand Piano Competition”, seven times hold an annual educational concert cycle "Stories with the Orchestra". The orchestra visited numerous cities in Russia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Great Britain, Netherlands, Peru, Uruguay, Chile, Germany, Spain, Romania, Turkey, China and Japan. Beside this, there are also chamber evenings with the participation of soloists of the orchestra that held regularly.

Since 2016, the orchestra has been working on a special project, which is aimed on supporting professional composing, that involves close collaboration with modern Russian authors. The first composer who the orchestra started collaborating with was Aleksander Vustin.
In 1972 the orchestra was granted the honorary title "academic" for the exceptional creative achievements and received the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1986. In 2006, 2011 and 2017 the ensemble was rewarded with Presidential commendations.