The Andreyev State Russian Orchestra
The Andreyev State Russian Orchestra

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"I listened to the music of the Russian circle of balalaika players with a great interest and admired their talent, new sound effects they can elicit from such picturesque instruments"

Jules Massenet

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About the Orchestra

Vasily Andreyev




Nikolay Fomin (1864-1943) graduated from Petersburg Conservatory as a pianist (a class of F. Stein), composer (a class of A. Rubinstein), and also from Saint-Petersburg State University Law School. He was the closest associate of V. Andreyev since 1889. He was the author of two operas, ballets, orchestral pieces, highly artistic adaptations of folk songs and transcriptions of full scores. In association with Andreyev he improved and reconstructed Russian folk instruments. He invented the keyboard gusli. Fomins erudition and professionalism significantly affected the Russian Orchestra development. In 1919 he headed the group. From 1929 to 1942 he was an instructor, and since 1939 a professor at the Leningrad Conservatory.
Feodor Niman (1860-1936) was an oboe player, leading singer of Mikhailovsky and Mariinsky Theatres, author of the School for an oboe. Since 1921 he was an oboe and band Professor at the Petrograd (since 1924 Leningrad) Conservatory. In 1894 he joined the Circuit of Amateur Balalaika-players as an alto balalaika-player. He considerably expanded the group repertoire with the folk songs adaptations and classics in new transcriptions. Since 1898 he became the second conductor, and from 1919 to 1933 he was an art director and the principal conductor of the Orchestra.
Eduard Grikurov (1907-1982) studied conducting at the Leningrad Conservatory under Professor A. Gauk. From 1936 to 1938 he was an artistic director and the principal conductor of the Andreyev Orchestra. Concert programs of that period were rife with the outstanding opera and symphonic pieces. Great achievements of the Orchestra made it possible in 1936 to pass the group to the charge of the Leningrad Philharmonic Society. Thereafter E. Grikurov became conductor of the Leningrad Maly (Minor) Opera and Ballet Theatre and Kirov (nowadays Mariinsky) Theatre. He was Professor at the Leningrad Conservatory, People's Artist of RSFSR, laureate of USSR State Prize.
Sergey Yeltsin (1897-1970) studied piano in the Petrograd Conservatory under L. Nikolaev. He studied conducting under E. Cooper. Yeltsin staged more than 60 opera pieces at the Leningrad Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre. He was a professor at the Leningrad Conservatory, People's Artist of RSFSR. From 1948 to1951 he headed the the Andreyev Orchestra. Yeltsin's perfectionism and nicety encouraged Orchestras creative growth in the first post-war years. One of the largest works of the group during that period was production of Verstovsky opera Askolds Grave.
Pavel Necheporenko was born in 1916. He studied choral conducting in the Leningrad Conservatory. He was one of the founders of modern school of balalaika playing, owner of the I prize at All-Union Contest of Performers on the Folk Instruments (1939). He was Artistic Director of the the Andreyev Orchestra in 1951. He encouraged group repertoire expansion by means of compositions of the young composers written specially for the Folk Instruments Orchestra. He was Professor at the Gnessin State Musical College, laureate of USSR State Prize, People's Artist of the USSR.
Daniil Pohitonov (1878-1957) was a conductor at the Mariinsky Theatre from 1909 to 1956 and at the same time (from 1918 to 1931) at the Petrograd (Leningrad) Maly (Minor) Opera Theatre. Pohitonov as an opera conductor was highly appreciated by F. Shalyapin. He worked with the the Andreyev Orchestra in the mid-fifties. He was a professor at the Leningrad Conservatory, People's Artist of RSFSR.
Leopold Stokovsky (1882-1977) was a well-known American conductor who led many symphonic orchestras in the USA and Europe. During tours to the USSR in 1958 he expressed a wish to meet the Andreyev Orchestra. Having acquainted himself with the orchestra instrumentation and placing, Stokovsky conducted the I part of the Unfinished Symphony by Schubert and enjoyed himself, as he said, enormously.
Georgy Donijah (1914-1976) was a graduate of the two Conservatories: Saratov (violin class) and Leningrad (conductor department). He was an Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic honoured arts worker. He was the principal conductor at the Leningrad Academic Maly (Minor) Opera and Ballet Theatre and the Leningrad State Theatre of Musical Comedy. From 1959 to 1971 he was an art director and the principal conductor of the Andreyev Orchestra. He introduced a flute, an oboe and an English horn, a group of the button accordions, some new percussion instruments to the orchestra. He significantly enlarged the group repertoire by new original compositions of the Leningrad composers. Never before had composers cooperated with the Orchestra so effectively.
Karl Eliasberg (1907-1978) was the principal conductor at the Big Symphony Orchestra of the Leningrad Radio Committee. From 1941 to 1945 he headed a symphony orchestra made of the musicians who remained in the besieged Leningrad. August 9th, 1942 they performed D.Shostakovich's 7th symphony. He was an honoured arts worker of RSFSR. Since mid-fifties and till his death he co-operated with the Andreyev Orchestra.
Avenir Mikhailov (1914-1983) was a choral conductor, Professor and Chairman of the Choral conducting department of the Leningrad Conservatory, honoured arts worker of RSFSR, head of the border troops ensemble of the Leningrad military district (1940-1950), head of the Leningrad radio chorus (1943-1952), the main chorus master of Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre (1950-1962), Artistic Director of the Leningrad Academic Chapel named after M. Glinka (1972-1974). From 1951 to 1955 he was an Artistic Director of the Andreyev Orchestra. He enriched the group repertoire with his own adaptations and arrangements of vocal and choral pieces. He continued cooperation with the Andreyev Orchestra also in the sixties-seventies.
Many other conductors made their contribution to the Andreyev Orchestra development. V. Katsan (V. Andreyevs associate), N. Selitsky (Artistic Director in 1945-1948), N. Mikhailov (Artistic Director in 1938-1940), M. Lubenets, V. Neimann (Artistic Director in 1940), P. Kulikov (composer), N. Rakov (composer), A. Alexandrov (Artistic Director in 1955-1958), V. Boyashov (composer), V. Rylov, V. Kalentiev (Artistic Director in 1973-1975), V. Fedotov, V. Dubrovsky, L. Grigoriev, E. Serov, V. Fedoseyev, V. Popov (Art director in 1977-1984), J. Bogdanov, J. Gamaley, R. Luther, R. Martynov (Art director in 1985-1986), M. Kukushkin, M. Vinogradov are among them.


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