The Russian National Orchestra
The Russian National Orchestra has been in demand throughout the music world ever since its 1990 Moscow premiere. Of the orchestra’s 1996 debut at the BBC Proms in London, the Evening Standard wrote, “They played with such captivating beauty that the audience gave an involuntary sigh of pleasure.” More recently, they were described as “a living symbol of the best in Russian art” (Miami Herald) and “as close to perfect as one could hope for” (Trinity Mirror).
The first Russian orchestra to perform at the Vatican and in Israel, the RNO maintains an active international tour schedule, appearing in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Guest artists performing with the RNO on tour include conductors Vladimir Jurowski, Nicola Luisotti, Antonio Pappano, Alan Gilbert, Carlo Ponti and Patrick Summers, and soloists Martha Argerich, Yefim Bronfman, Lang Lang, Pinchas Zukerman, Sir James Galway, Joshua Bell, Itzhak Perlman, Steven Isserlis, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Simone Kermes and Renée Fleming, among many others. Popular with radio audiences worldwide, RNO concerts are regularly aired by National Public Radio in the United States and by the European Broadcasting Union.
Gramophone magazine called the first RNO CD (1991) “an awe-inspiring experience; should human beings be able to play like this?” and listed it as the best recording of Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique in history. Since then, the orchestra has made more than 75 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and PentaTone Classics, distinguishing the RNO as the only Russian ensemble with long-standing relationships with these prestigious labels, as well as additional discs with many other record companies. Conductors represented in the RNO discography include Founder and Music Director Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Jurowski, Kent Nagano, Alexander Vedernikov and Paavo Berglund.
The RNO’s recording of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Beintus’s Wolf Tracks, conducted by Kent Nagano and narrated by Sophia Loren, Bill Clinton and Mikhail Gorbachev, received a 2004 Grammy Award, making the RNO the first Russian orchestra to win the recording industry’s highest honor. A Spanish language version narrated by Antonio Banderas was released in 2007, following a Russian version narrated by actors Oleg Tabakov and Sergei Bezrukov, with a Mandarin edition following in 2011.
In 2008, a panel of international critics assembled by Gramophone named the Russian National Orchestra as one of the world’s top orchestras.
The orchestra’s Shostakovich cycle on PentaTone Classics is widely acclaimed as “the most exciting cycle of the Shostakovich symphonies to be put down on disc, and easily the best recorded.” (SACD.net)
A regular visitor to the Schleswig-Holstein, Gstaad and Rheingau festivals, the RNO is also the founding orchestra of Napa Valley Festival del Sole, Festival of the Arts BOCA in Florida, and the Singapore Sun Festival, and resident orchestra for multiple seasons of the Tuscan Sun Festival in Cortona, Italy. The RNO launched its own annual festival in 2009, held each September in Moscow.
The RNO is unique among the principal Russian ensembles as a private institution funded with the support of individuals, corporations and foundations in Russia and throughout the world. In recognition of both its artistry and path-breaking structure, the Russian Federation recently awarded the RNO the first ever grant to a non-government orchestra.