January 01, 2004

Winds From the East

When the Russian National Orchestra (RNO) returns to Russia this February from its US concert tour, it will leave behind three young players from its woodwind section. The orchestra is not abandoning the musicians to the whims of fate, but instead launching them on their first independent chamber tour. The three RNO musicians will be joined by two colleagues from Moscow. Together, they comprise the RNO Wind Quintet.

The RNO is Moscow’s finest orchestra and rivals St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater Orchestra and St. Petersburg Philharmonic as the best in all of Russia. The RNO has a considerable following in the US through its regular tours over the past decade and its many recordings. But, for the fledgling RNO Wind Quintet, the February tour, which includes venues on the East Coast of the US and at the Bermuda Festival, is an attempt to crack the difficult nut that is the North American chamber music circuit.

“The chamber music scene is brimming with good young talent – mostly string players,” said Mary Ann Allin, who is organizing the quintet’s tour. “But what sets the RNO Wind Quintet apart is their flawless technique, combined with an enthusiasm for experimental music and new compositions, often their own! Immediately they are collaborating with jazz musicians, choreographers, and music set to poetry or with narration.”

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