St. Petersburg Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra
St. Petersburg Radio & TV Symphony Orchestra (then Leningrad Radio Orchestra) was founded in 1945, to commemorate the victory in the Second World War. Last year the Orchestra celebrated their 60th birthday.
When created originally, it became one of the few sources of joy for people recovering from the war and then the terrors of the Stalinist regime.
The orchestra repertoire at a time consisted mainly of dance music, overtures, songs and popular music, including jazz. The orchestra performed at concert halls and also was regularly featured on the radio.
For some Russians who lived far from Moscow and St.Petersburg (then Leningrad), the only way to listen to music was to hear the Orchestra on the radio - in a large country like Russia, no Orchestra could visit every distant village or town. The Orchestra became so popular that any Russian of the post-war generation will immediately recognize the name and remember the comfort brought by their radio broadcasts.
It is this era, and those brave Russian survivors who made up their audience, that are recalled today in the Orchestra‘s name.
The Radio Orchestra was originally founded by Nikolai Minkh, who was at that time already a well known composer of popular music. Minkh started the Orchestra with 25 musicians and served as Music Director and Chief conductor untill 1954. The repertoire of the Orchestra already included a variety of jazz and popular music.
The second Chief Conductor of the Orchestra was Alexander Vladimirov (1954-1974). After joining in 1954 he increased the number of musicians to 40 and expanded the repertoire. A composer himself, his own arrangement were often featured.
Vladmirov‘s leadership was followed by Vahtang Jordania (1974-1975) and then his successor Anatoly Kalvarsky, also a composer and a jazz pianist, who worked with the Orchestra untill 1978. Kalvarsky added to the string section of the Orchestra and started to concentrate more on symphonic music.
Stanislav Gorkovenko joined in 1978 and will celebrate the 30 year anniversary of his leadership in 2008.
Under Maestro Stanislav Gorkovenko, the Radio & TV Orchestra was re-formed as a full symphony orchestra. The number of musicians was increased to 70. The current repertoire includes popular music, jazz, symphonic classics, as well as opera and ballet music. Seventy-five vinyl recordings and 50 CDs were produced by the Orchestra during the last 25 years.
The Radio & TV Orchestra started to tour extensively abroad and has been very well received by European, Japanese and Korean audiences. A US tour is planned before the Orchestra‘s Anniversary.
Maestro Gorkovenko has patronized many contemporary composers and often has been the first to conduct premieres of pieces that became famous later. He conducted the premiere of "Aniuta" ballet by Gavrilin, done after Anton Chekhov‘s oeuvre, that was staged by Vladimir Vasiliev in Napoli (Italy).
Maestro Gorkovenko‘s style is easily distinguished as very energetic and still refined. He has a perfect eye for talent and today a number of musicians of the Radio & TV Orchestra are his former students.
The current repertoire of the Orchestra is often referred to as unique as it is such a rare combination of the non-combinable. There is no other Orchestra that regularly and with same level of perfection would perform such a wide repertoire, that includes old and contemporary classical music, opera, ballet, popular and movie music as well as jazz and even sometimes "rock and roll".
Performances in their home city often take place at the Hermitage Theatre, originally built to serve as a family theatre for the Russian emperors, and at the Grand Symphony Hall and Cappella Hall, famous for its unique acoustics.
Stanislav Gorkovenko works in close cooperation with the most recognized world theatres, such as La Scala, for example, where took place the Gala Celebration of opera music "Verdi, Puccini, Rossini". The same performance was later taken on tour in Europe.
Another frequent collaboration is with the Mariinsky (Kirov) theatre soloists, staging ballet performances. The famous Maya Plisetskaya, Ekaterina Maximova and Vladimir Vasiliev performed with the Orchestra in the 1980s. The Orchestra also tours with several Russian ballet troupes. A recent "All Ballets by Tchaikovsky" was done in cooperation with the ballet soloists of Bolshoi and Kirov (Mariinsky) theatres. In 2003 The Orchestra accompanied the Russian figure skating Champions to France and Switzerland.
In the opera, famous soloists such as Yuri Marusin (tenor), Olga Borodina (soprano), Olga Kondina (soprano), Alexander Morozov (Bass) have all performed and recorded with the Radio & TV Orchestra. Operetta or light opera is also part of the Radio & TV Orchestra‘s repertoire. The repertoire includes, as examples: "The Beautiful Helen" by Jacques Offenbach, "Gypsy Baron" by Johann Strauss, "Maritsa" by Imre Kбlmбn and "The Joyful Widow" by Franz Lehбr.
One of the Orchestra‘s dedications is to produce memorial programs for the composers who worked extensively with the group in the past. Such has been accomplished with both Dmitri Shostakovich and Georgy Sviridov, as well as with Vladimir Gavrilin and Vasily Soloviev-Sedoi (composer of the famous song "Podmoskovnie vechera", - one of the modern symbols of Russia), who worked extensively with the orchestra in the beginning of the Gorkovenko era.
Today, as throughout their history, the Radio & TV Orchestra is one of the most popular and beloved artistic ensembles in Russia.