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, celebrated its 80th anniversary. The State Orchestra debut performance under the baton of Alexander Gauk and Erich Kleiber took place eight decades ago, 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.

On 24 October 2011 Vladimir Jurowski, a world-renowned conductor collaborating with many leading opera companies and orchestras, was appointed as the Artistic Director of the State Orchestra. Starting with 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, Bolshoy 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, A.Jansons, O.Klemperer, K.Kondrashin, L.Maazel, N.Malko, I.Markevitch, E.Mravinsky, C.Munch, M.Rostropovich, G.Rozhdestvensky, K.Sanderling, S.Sondeckis, I.Stravinsky, A.Boreiko, C.Dutoit, V.Gergiev, M.Jurowski, A.Lazarev, I.Marin, K.Masur, A.Sladkovsky, L.Slatkin, Y.Temirkanov, A.Vedernikov, and other great musicians.

Among the outstanding soloists who have performed with the orchestra are singers I.Arkhipova, M.Caballe, D.Hvorostovsky, S.Lemeshev, E.Obraztsova, G.Vishnevskaya, P.Domingo, M.Guleghina, and J.Kaufmann; pianists V.Cliburn, E.Gilels, H.Neuhaus, N.Petrov, S.Richter, M.Yudina, V.Afanassiev, B.Berezovsky, E.Kissin, N.Lugansky, D.Matsuev, G.Sokolov and E. Virsaladze; violinists L.Kogan, Y.Menuhin, D.Oistrakh, V.Pikayzen, G.Kremer, V.Repin, V.Spivakov, V.Tretyakov, and M.Vengerov; violist Y.Bashmet; cellists M.Rostropovich, N.Gutman, A.Kniazev, and A.Rudin. Recently, this roster was expanded to add singers D. Alieva, A.Garifullina, W.Meier, A.Netrebko, H.Gerzmava, A.Pendatchanska, I.Abdrazakov, D.Korchak, and V.Ladiuk, R.Pape; pianists M. A. Hamelin, L.O.Andsnes, A.Volodin, J.Y.Thbaudet, M.Uchida and R.Buchbinder; violinists K. Barati, L.Kavakos, P.Kopachinskaja, S.Krylov, J.Rachlin, J.Fischer, D.Hope, and N.Znaider. A lot of attention is also devoted to collaboration with young musicians such as conductors D.Botinis, M.Emeljanchev, M.Stravinsky, V.Yryupin and P.Chizhevsky; pianists L.Debargue, A. Gugnin, P.Kopachevsky and D.Masleev; violinists A.Bayeva, A.Pritchin, V.Sokolov, and P.Milyukov and cellist A.Ramm.
Ever since its first tour abroad in 1956 the orchestra regularly represents Russian culture in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, the US, 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, EMI Classics, BMG, Deutsche Grammophon, Naxos, Chandos, Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm, 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 the ensemble’s concerts.

Lately the orchestra has performed at the Grafenegg Festival (Austria), Kissinger Sommer in Bad Kissingen (Germany), Hong-Kong Arts Festival, "Another space" festival, "Opera live" and  XIII Moscow International Festival "Guitar Virtuosi" in Moscow, VII Denis Matsuev International Festival in Perm, IV Tchaikovsky International Arts Festival in Klin. The orchestra performed world premieres of works by A.Vustin, S.Goss, E.Podgaits, S.Slonimskiy, V.Nikolaev, J.Sherling, and Russian premieres of works by J.Adams, L. van Beethoven – G.Mahler, D.Kurtag, V.Silvestrov, R.Schedrin, J.Tavener, A.Skryabin – A.Nemtin, C.Orff, G.Gladkov, V.Tarnopolskiy, K.Stockhausen. Moreover, the ensemble took part in the XV International Tchaikovsky Competition, the I and II International competition for young pianists Grand Piano Competition, presented six annual educational concert cycle "Stories with the Orchestra". The orchestra visited numerous cities in Russia, Austria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Spain, Turkey and China.

Starting in January 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. Aleksander Vustin is the first composer in residence of the orchestra.

The orchestra was granted the honorary title "academic" for the exceptional creative achievements in 1972 and received the Order of the Red Banner of Labour in 1986. In 2006, 2011 and 2017 the ensemble was rewarded with Presidential commendations.