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Russian National Orchestra
Conductor & soloist – Mikhail Pletnyov (piano)
Rodion Shchedrin (piano)
Mischa Maisky (cello)
Pelageya Kurennaya (soprano)
Dmitry Shishkin (piano)
Dmitry Onishchenko (piano)
Chamber Choir of Moscow Conservatory
Conductor – Alexander Solovyev
Program:
Shchedrin
Tchaikovsky Concert Hall, December 15, 2017

Russian National Orchestra

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 60 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, Principal Guest Conductor 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 Mandarin and other editions to follow.

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 will launch its own annual festival in 2009, which will be held at Moscow's Bolshoi Theater.

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.

Mikhail Pletnyov

Mikhael Pletnev was born in Arkhangelsk, Russia, in 1957. His father was an accordion teacher, his mother a pianist. They recognized his talent early on. Mikhail grew up in Kazan where he learnt several instruments, including the piano. At the age of 13, he transferred to the Central School of Music in Moscow to study under Yevgeny Timakin. In 1974, Pletnev entered the Moscow Conservatory, studying with Yakov Fliyer, and, after Fliyer’s death, with Lev Vlasenko. At 21, Pletnev won the Gold Medal and First Prize in the 1978 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow which allowed him to tour outside the Soviet Union. His recording of his own arrangements from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker suite and Shchedrin’s Anna Karenina created a sensation.

In 1980, Pletnev made his debut as a director. As guest conductor, he has directed the Philharmonia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1988, he was invited by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to perform at the superpower summit in Washington. In 1990, with the help of the private sector, Pletnev founded the Russian National Orchestra (RNO), the first completely state-independent orchestra since the revolution of 1917. In 1991, as the first Russian orchestra, the RNO played a private concert in the Vatican for Pope Jean Paul II. In 1995, Pletnev was awarded the first State Prize of the Russian Federation by President Yeltsin. In 1999, Pletnev stepped down as music director and principal conductor of the RNO, becoming its Conductor Laureate. He continues his collaboration with the orchestra, recording with and conducting it at home and abroad. Vladimir Spivakov took over Pletnev’s position at the RNO.

[added on June 17, 2004: Mikhail Pletnev returned to the position of Artistic director of the Russian National Orchestra in 2002, after Vladimir Spivakov’s short-lived unseccessful tenure].

Pletnev is a pianist, director and composer. As soloist, he has appeared with Maazel, Giulini, Haitink, Chailly, Sanderling, Nagano, Gergiev, Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and others. Pletnev’s recordings include his transcriptions for piano of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Sleeping Beauty (Philips, 1998; DG 1999). For his album of Scarlatti’s Keyboard Sonatas (Virgin Classics, EMI), he received a Gramophone Award in 1996. Pletnev’s Homage to Rachmaninov was recorded on the composer’s own Steinway at Rachmaninov’s family home near Lucerne. As a composer, Pletnev’s works include Classical Symphony, Triptych for Symphony Orchestra, Fantasy on Kazakh Themes for Violin and Orchestra and Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra. At the end of 1998, his Concerto for Viola and Orchestra premiered in Moscow with Yuri Bashmet as soloist. The world premiere recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto arranged by Pletnev for clarinet, with Michael Collins as soloist, was released in 2000 (DG).

Mischa Maisky

Mischa Maisky has the distinction of being the only cellist in the world to have studied with both Mstislav Rostropovich and Gregor Piatigorsky. Rostropovich has lauded Mischa Maisky as:

"...one of the most outstanding talents of the younger generation of cellists. His playing combines poetry and exquisite delicacy with great temperament and brilliant technique."

Born in Latvia, educated in Russia, after his repatriation to Israel, Mischa Maisky has been enthusiastically received in London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, New York and Tokyo, along with the rest of the major music centers.

He considers himself to be a citizen of the world: “I’m playing an Italian cello, with French and German bows, Austrian and German strings, my daughter was born in France, my oldest son in Belgium, the middle one in Italy and the youngest one in Switzerland, I’m driving a Japanese car, wear a Swiss watch, an Indian necklace and I feel at home everywhere where people appreciate and enjoy classical music.”

As an exclusive Deutsche Grammophon artist, during the last 25 years he has made well over 30 recordings with such orchestras as Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, Israel Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orpheus, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and others.

One of the highlights of his career was the year 2000 - it was mainly devoted to a worldwide Bach tour which included over 100 concerts! In order to express his deep admiration for this great composer, Mischa Maisky has recorded Bach's solo suites for the third time.

His recordings have enjoyed worldwide critical acclaim and have been awarded the prestigious Record Academy Prize in Tokyo five times, the Echo Deutscher Schallplattenpreis three times, Grand Prix du Disque in Paris and Diapason d’Or of the Year as well as the coveted Grammy nominations.

Truly a world-class musician and regular guest at most major International Festivals, he has collaborated with such conductors as Leonard Bernstein, Carlo Maria Giulini, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Charles Dutoit, Mariss Jansons, Valery Gergiev and Gustavo Dudamel and his partnerships have included artists as Martha Argerich, Radu Lupu, Nelson Freire, Evgeny Kissin, Lang Lang, Peter Serkin, Gidon Kremer, Yuri Bashmet, Vadim Repin, Maxim Vengerov, Joshua Bell, Julian Rachlin and Janine Jansen to name just a few. 

Dmitry Shishkin

Born in Ulan-Ude.  Studied at the Moscow Conservatory under Prof. Eliso Virsaladze (2010 to present).  In 2004 he won the 5th International Nutcracker Television Competition for Young Musicians.  In 2013 he took third prize in the 59th Busoni International Piano Competition in Bolzano (Italy) and third prize in the Friuli Venezia Giulia International Piano Competition (Italy). In 2014 he came in second in the 4th BNDES International Piano Competition in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).  In 2010 he performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No.1 with the Gnesin Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra at the concert on Red Square to celebrate Russia Day.  He has appeared with the Tchaikovsky Large Symphony Orchestra and the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has performed on tour in Europe and Asia.  In 2014 he became a recording artist for the KNS Classical label.

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