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The Moscow State Chamber Choir (Choir)

Artistic leader and conductor - Vladimir Minin.


"The Moscow chamber choir was created at the moment when in my head there was quite a certain image what it should be. By that time during five years I did not supervise any choir and, to tell the truth, had never thought that I would be back. But the love to the choral singing, need of it was still in my heart.

The Moscow State Chamber Choir (Choir) Click to enlarge
Being rector on the Gnessins musical institute, I have got the opportunity to create the choir and my concept should be just written on paper. My task was creating of a modern chamber ensemble of soloists. I insist - I wanted that all talents of choristers would reveal freely, and each of soloists should be the personality, opposing that time tendency: to brush all artists under one comb. That is why my choir concept was « ensemble of soloists».

As to the definition "modern" it concerns both: repertoire and my dialogue with choristers, choir and public, selection of expression means. The accent on modernity helped choir to live so long time, 37 years, keeping its creativity and audience interest all over the world.

In 1970th there was a certain tendency - to create choirs, but few of them managed to survive. We did. Choirs could sing as much as they wanted Orlando Lasso and Palestrina, but it is not enough to feed the public.

I think it is very important - to be modern. This choir concept remains being the main up till now. In the very beginning our choir included students, graduates and even teachers of the Gnessins musical institute, and it was the amateur choir. But soon due to professionalism of choristers it became professional.

On 23rd April, 1972 we performed our first concert, in Moscow, in the House of scientists. Then summer vacation came, and only in the autumn we have gathered again.

During all 1973 we gathered in the evenings for rehearsal, after work, on Saturday and Sunday, performed in Moscow suburbs . But due to active assistance of Georgy Sviridov, Vasily Kuharsky, being deputy of Culture Minister Ekaterina Furtseva, and also due to the fact that our choir was under protection of Rosconcert, we became professionals after 1st January 1974."

The Moscow State Chamber Choir (Choir) 

The introduction into XXI century - this mark for the Moscow State Academic chamber choir was rather conditional. The choir life routine was the same as before: rehearsals, concerts, disks recording, tours in Russia and abroad. However there were important events as well.

In particular, numerous choir participation in performances of the summer opera festival in Bregenz (Austria) where the choir for the first time has taken part in opera statements: Puccini "Bohemia", Rubinstein "Demon", Yanachek "Lisichki", Verdi "Ball-masquerade", Mussorgsky "Khovanchina" and even in Bernstein musical «Westside story».

Vladimir Minin wrote on this occasion: « I have discovered my artists being so different when they move on the stage without any actor's education just obeying instructions of the director, and I have seen - they liked it ». Within the framework of this festival various operas were performed: Martinue «Greek passions », Rimsky-Korsakov « Gold peacock », Nilsen "Masquerade" staged in cooperation with the festival director David Pauntni.

One of significant events of XXI century was the first performance of Georgy Sviridov's «Bezvremenie Songs» (2003), the Russian premier of Gyia Kancheli's « Little Imber » (2004) and «Amao Omi » (2007) and Vladimir Dashkevich's «Seven lightings of the Apocalypse» (2006).

The following concerts have been performed on the stage of the Big hall of Moscow conservatory : with Joseph Kobzon who performed songs and romances, the concert of Georgian choral music with participation of Tamara Gverdtsiteli, the concert with Alla Demidova who read the text of Prokofiev oratorio "Ivan Grozny" (Ivan the Terrible).

The Moscow chamber choir toured a lot: in Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, England.

Two documentary films have been filmed and repeatedly shown on TV channel "Culture” : « Russian relics » (2006) where the choir performed music of G.Sviridov and V.Gavrilin, and «Vladimir Minin. From the first person » devoted to Minin's 80-anniversary.

The choir achievements in the chronological order are as follows:

In 2000 the choir had been on the tour in South America (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Recorded the disk "Perezvony" of V.Gavrilin and « Night clouds » of G.Sviridov at the German recording studio « Mazur Media»

In 2001 the Choir recorded another disc - Anthology of Russian spiritual music: S.Rahmaninov "Bells" and S.Taneev "Joan Damaskin" was recorded at one of the most world prestigious recording studios - « Deutsche Gramophone ».

In 2002 at studio "Classsound " the Choir recorded Russian songs and songs of Soviet composers. The disk's name was « Sing me that song, that before … ». This year the choir recorded as well the choir jubilee concert which was performed on 19.04.02. at the Big hall of Moscow conservatory.

In 2003 « Deutsche Gramophone » recorded the first solo compact disc of the Moscow chamber choir « Russian Voices » containing works of Russian spiritual choral music a-capella (S.Taneev, G.Sviridov, M. Mussorgsky, S.Prokofiev). In November the Choir performed together with glorified opera singer Monserat Cabalie.

In 2004, jubilee year to honor the conductor’s 75th anniversary Vladimir Minin was awarded with the order « For merits before Fatherland of III degree » and the order of Russian Orthodox church «Sacred prince Daniil Moskovsky of II degree ». The choir successfully toured in Italy and gave concerts in Padua, Sachille, Verona, Trento. The works of Mahler, Rakhmaninov, Grechaninov were performed there. The choir took part in the Moscow Easter festival.

The significant event was the first performance of Russian famous composer S.Taneev’s works in London in 2005 when the Moscow chamber choir together with the Russian National Orchestra under baton of M.Pletnev performed two cantatas « After reading psalm» and "Joan Damaskin".

In May, 2006 the choir has participated in the unusual program. Together with the State academic symphonic orchestra named after E.Svetlanov the Choir performed fragments from the musical « Westside story », « Chechester psalms», « Symphonic dances » of Bernstain, Negro spirituals and Coplend’s work « In the beginning ». Being in Moscow for the first time the known English pianist, organist and conductor Wayne Marshall was at the conductor's stand that evening. In one of the concerts the choir performed XX century American music: Gershwin, Porter, Ellington, Kern. The soloist - Deborah Benke. The conductor - Gilbert Filly. In October the choir took part in the 4th Russian Gavrilin’s musical festival where "The Bells" of Valerie Gavrilin was performed.

In February, 2007 two great premieres with participation of the Choir took place: performance of cantata "Amao Omi » (War is senseless) composed by the outstanding modern composer G.Kancheli and Liturgy of " Seven lightnings of the Apocalypse » composed by V.Dashkevich. In March the Choir performed the new program named «Yesenin and … » in which known drama actor Alexander Filippenko took part. On the occasion of 35th choir anniversary the concert in the Big Hall of Moscow conservatory was performed in which the chamber orchestra « Moscow Virtuosos », the orchestra « Musica viva », Joseph Kobzon, Elena Kamburova, Natalia Gerasimova and other artists took part.

The concert season 2008-2009 foresaw the performance by the Choir of large symphonic works for soloists, choir and orchestra, such as Haydn "Paukenmesse", Beethoven « Christ on Olive mountain », Orph « Carmina Burana », never performed in Russia before, Sviridov « Night clouds», Mozart "Requiem", Kancheli « Аmao Omi ». Besides above Bizet opera "Carmen" was performed in the concert way at the Tchaikovsky hall.

On January 22, 2009 the jubilee concert devoted to 80-anniversary of Vladimir Minin and 60-anniversary of his artistic activity took place in the Big hall of Moscow conservatory. Vladimir Minin was awarded with Order of Honor for eminent contribution to development and preservation of Russian national choral art. In May the choir took part in the Moscow Easter festival.

Some charitable concerts were given: at Cancer center for children, Children's musical school named after Haydn, Physical institute of Russian Academy of Science (FIAN). On May 24 having finished the concert season in Russia, the choir has gone for three weeks foreign tour in Japan. The tour was organized by the well known concert company Japan Arts. The works of western classic composers, Russian folk songs and fragments from Rakhmaninov's Liturgy « St. Joan Zlatoust » will be performed together with the Tchaikovsky Big Symphonic Orchestra. The choir will take part in concert performance of Tchaikovsky opera "Iolanta".

After having finished the tour in Japan, the Moscow chamber choir will give two concerts in Singapore where the Russian choral music was never performed. Program of the first concert: Russian and Western classics. In the second concert, together with the orchestra « Moscow Soloists» under baton of Y.Bashmet, the Choir will perform Schubert « Mess e - major » and Mozart motet « Exultate Jubilate».

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