December 01, 1995

A New Orchestra for a New Time

It's been a festive period for Russian classical music these last couple of years. In 1994 the Borodin String Quartet celebrated 50 years of performing and the State Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Yevgeny Svetlanov, enjoyed its 30th anniversary. This year, the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) marks its fifth anniversary. And so far this relatively modest milestone is enjoying all the attention that a precocious youth can bring.

In 1990, the Russian National Orchestra became the first independent, private symphony orchestra in Russia since the 1917 revolution.

Independence has had its advantages and disadvantages. While there was no state financing or access to acoustically suitable halls for rehearsals, the orchestra has enjoyed complete freedom to choose what, where and how to play. But these realities are only part of the reason that the RNO’s five years is seen to be such a remarkable achievement.

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The fiercely independent Russian National Orchestra, the finest of Russian classical ensembles, turns 20 this year. We look at how they have flourished against the odds.

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