About the Orchestra
The history of the worldwide famous Andreyev State Russian Orchestra (the former Imperial Russian Orchestra) lasts for more than one hundred years. On the 20th
of March, 2008 the ensemble celebrated its 120th
Created by the outstanding musician and educator Vasily Andreyev in the year 1888, the ensemble gained international recognition already in the first years of its existence.
“The people needs comprehensible music, national music, and balalaika, domra, gusli are such historically national instruments,” − V. Andreyev wrote.
The main idea of Andreyev was to “combine the dress-suit and balalaika”, to create an orchestra, built upon the principles of symphonic orchestra, the basis of which would be Russian folk instruments. As a result, this collective has been and is now a phenomenon unique not only for the Russian, but the world musical culture.
Guest tours of the Andreyev Orchestra to the cities of Europe and Americs turned into absolute triumph. Due to the activity of Andreyev the Russian folk music has begun to be performed in the largest halls of Russia and foreign countries, there began to appear amateur societies of balalaika and domra players, and in the musical world these instruments were recognized on the same basis as violin and violoncello.
In the year 1913, when the Russian Orchestra (named so since 1896) celebrated its 25th anniversary, it consisted of 30 musicians and successfully gave concerts in France, Germany, England, the USA, Canada. The unanimous recognition of the native and foreign musical critics, who called the orchestra “uncomparable”, motivated Andreyev to address to the most powerful politicians of Russia for support, in order to preserve and develop this inherent part of the Russian culture. As a result, the Orchestra was named the Imperial Russian Orchestra.
The concert dedicated to the concert’s 25th anniversary, drew attention of the whole high society of Petersburg. In the Mariinsky Theatre there was a full house sold. In the hall there were many noble persons present, including the emperor’s family and deputies of the State Duma. After long applause Andreyev was congratulated by the great Shalyapin: “Dear Vasily Vasilievich! You treated kindly a pitiful orphan balalaika. From your care and love it has grown up to a wonderful Russian beauty, that won the heart of the audience of the whole world.” The orchestra received hundreds of telegrams with words of praise and gratefulness from many countries, among them from Sarah Bernard and Artur Nikish, Arturo Toskanini and Ruggero Leoncavallo. In France Andreyev was elected for an Honorary Member of Academy of Fine Arts “for introduction of a new element to the music.”
Having survived through the Russian revolution of 1917, the Great Patriotic War and Siege of Leningrad, “the iron curtain,” the orchestra managed to preserve its specific color and traditions, established by his founder, that died in 1918. Since then, the ensemble was lead by many distinguished conductors, among them – F. Niman, E. Grikurov, S. Yeltsin, K. Eliasberg. As a circuiter there were such acknowledged masters as L. Stokovsky and A. Naydenov, V. Dubrovsky and V. Fedoseev.
Since 1986 the orchestra is leaded by Dmitry Hochlov. Talented conductor, that worked till then with many symphonic orchestras and opera theatres, D. Hochlov treasured the traditions established by V. Andreyev, developed his ideas and continued the creation of an ensemble of V.Andreyev’s dream. Today, leaded by Hochlov, the orchestra is capable to perform programs of any difficultness: from the popular folk melodies to the compositions of the world’s classic. The brass instruments group, that was innovatively included in the ensemble by Hochlov, enriched its repertoire and the sound of the orchestra, letting it expose the audience the masterpieces of the world’s classic music in the specific sound manner of the folk instruments. D. Hochlov returned the orchestra to the best scenes of St. Petersburg – The Grand Hall of the Philarmonic, the Mariinsky Theatre, the Capella, as well as to the best stages of the world in USA, Japan, France, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and s.o.
Created in the nineteenth century, the Andreyev State Russian Orchestra went through several epoches in our country’s life and absorbed the best achievements of the musical art of the world, adding to it inimitable Russian color. Today, as well as one hundred years ago, it is a pride of Russia and an integral part of its culture.
Since 1998 the orchestra is under patronage of the Committee for Culture of St. Petersburg and is an independent judicial body established by the City Property Management Committee.