Svetlanov State Symphony Orchestra (Orchestra)|
The Moscow-based State Academic Symphony Orchestra "Evgeny Svetlanov", as it
is officially now named in English, is one of the most renowned orchestras in
Russia, with a long history of international touring. Its official name in
Russian is Государственный Академический Симфонический Оркестр России имени Е.
Ф. Светланова. (The "Svetlanov" sobriquet was added in 2005 to honor the
ensemble's longest-serving chief conductor, whose career was almost entirely
dedicated to what was for decades the "USSR State Symphony Orchestra."
Confusingly, the musicians often tour today under the name "Russian State
Symphony Orchestra.") The orchestra gives concerts in Moscow in the Great Hall
of Moscow Conservatory and at Tchaikovsky Concert Hall.
Founded in 1936, the USSR State Symphony Orchestra's first chief conductor
was Alexander Gauk. Konstantin Ivanov served a distinguished 19-year tenure
until 1965, seeing out the Stalin regime, before Svetlanov became chief and made
touring a priority. The orchestra frequently recorded for Melodiya, starting
early in the Svetlanov period with a still-acclaimed Tchaikovsky symphony cycle.
Its reputation for full, ripe string sound was well-earned, creating a potent
combination with its traditionally Russian, largely unrestrained brass.
Svetlanov's personal intensity only added fuel.
The orchestra's name naturally changed with the inception of the Russian
Federation in late 1991. After tough years financially, for Russia as a whole,
Svetlanov's 35 years as chief ended abruptly in 2000 when he was dismissal by
Mikhail Shvydkoi, Russia's then Minister of Culture. The pretext of the firing,
ironically, was that Svetlanov had been spending excessive time conducting
outside Russia, precisely where the orchestra's reputation had been built up.
But in 2005, as noted, the orchestra took the step of permanently acknowledging
this musician's unequalled contribution.
Vassily Sinaisky and then, in 2002, Mark Gorenstein succeeded Svetlanov.
Gorenstein caused controversy with remarks about Armenian cellist Narek
Hakhnazaryan during the 2011 International Tchaikovsky Competition, which led at
first to his removal as conductor for the competition and later, that September,
amid accusations of abusive behavior, as chief of the orchestra. In October 2011
the orchestra announced the appointment of Vladimir Jurowski as its sixth chief
conductor, with immediate effect, signing a contract with an initial term of