The "Moscow Virtuosi" chamber orchestra
In 1979 Vladimir Spivakov, an outstanding virtuoso violinist, with a group of his friends and artistic associates, mostly winners of international music competitions, as well as soloists and section leaders of the best Moscow symphonic and chamber orchestras, founded the "Moscow Virtuosi" Chamber Orchestra. Thus, the highest performance standard was set up from the very moment of the orchestra’s establishment, which justified its claim for a rather ambitious, at a first glance, title of "Moscow Virtuosi".
Launching artistic groups at an artist's initiative was by no means a common practice in the Soviet Union of those years. Only governmental bodies could authorize the establishment of professional theaters, orchestras and museums. It took Spivakov and his friends several years to prove to the authorities that the orchestra’s professional level and potential were of an order of magnitude higher than those of a great majority of State orchestras that boasted of marvelous conductors and musicians able to glorify any European or US orchestra in the 70s and 80s.
Only in 1983 did the "Moscow Virtuosi" Orchestra gain the official status and the entailed governmental financial support for its performance activities.
The same years witnessed an arduous, but joyful consolidation of virtuosi musicians, each being a bright personality, into a world-class, finely-organized musical ensemble with its own performance style and a huge repertoire comprising Bach and Schnittke. The process is not completed up to now, but even in the mid 1980s the main performance and artistic features of the orchestra became evident
both for the pieces performed and for the audience make the "Moscow Virtuosi" Orchestra so different from many other chamber orchestras. The orchestra stands away from aesthetic any snobbery and arrogant attitude to listeners, some of whom might have come to the concert quite by chance. To excite the audience emotionally and to enthrall intellectually every listener, even an ignorant one, to endow him with the pleasure of enjoining music masterpieces, to evoke the desire to come to chamber music concerts again are considered by the "Moscow Virtuosi" as the most important goals.
Ever since the chamber orchestra was founded, Vladimir Spivakov, an outstanding violinist and conductor, benefactor and prominent social figure, has been its artistic director, conductor and soloist. Thanks to Maestro Spivakov and the two decades of his activities for the sake of the orchestra, the "Moscow Virtuosi" is now undoubtedly within the best chamber orchestras of the world with their own grateful audiences everywhere and is enjoying a high reputation that has been acquired by years of persistent and hard work.
In 1990 Vladimir Spivakov signs the contract with The Prince Philippe Foundation, and during several years the musicians of the “Moscow Virtuosi” live and work in Spain. Orchestra plays a few concerts a year for the Royal family and traditionally plays at the annual Award ceremony. The concertmasters of the orchestra give master-classes for young talented Spanish musicians.
The “Moscow Virtuosi” Chamber Orchestra constantly and with special pleasure plays in Spain. Perhaps, because it feels there at home (the last concert took place on the 4th of May 2007, Madrid, “Auditorim)”.
Every year the "Moscow Virtuosi" give over 100 concerts, mostly on tours. The geography of the tours is very extensive: it includes all regions of Russia, the former Soviet Union territory (which still remains the common cultural space of the now desintigrated country both for the orchestra and for the listeners), European countries, the United States of America and Japan. In all the countries the Virtuosi give their concerts not only in the best and most prestigious concert halls, such as “Concertgebouw” in Amsterdam, “Musikverrein” in Vienna, “ Royal Festival Hall” and “Albert Hall” in London, “Pleyel” and “Champs Elysees Theatre” in Paris, “Carnegie Hall” and “Avery Fisher Hall” in New York, “Santory Hall” in Tokyo, but also in ordinary venues of small towns.
Here are only some of numerous appraisals of the "Moscow Virtuosi" concerts in the USA and Europe in the 8O-s and 90s:
- ".. First-rate string players honed by Vladimir Spivakov to a rare fitness of ensemble". (The New York Times); "A marvelous group of string players". (Chicago Tribune); "Like a fine Swiss watch, a fine musical ensemble is a model of precision and elegance; each musician is a part of a synergetic and remarkably efficient whole." (Los Angeles Times); "They are wonderful! Their sound is so sweet, with an admirable softness, their phrasing is incredibly clean, and their intonation is extremely precise" (La Repubblica); "An amazing ensemble, with a precision of intonation and phasing, a fiery temperament and a remarkable mastery of their instruments." (Wiener Zeitung).
- Many a time the "Moscow Virtuosi" has participated in famous international music festivals in Salzburg (Austria), Edinburgh (Scotland), Florence and Pompei (Italy), Lucerne and Gstaad (Switzerland), Rheingau and Schleswig-Golstein (Germany) and many others. Special links connect the "Moscow Virtuosi" and the International Music Festival in Colmar (France), where Maestro Spivakov is Artistic Director. The orchestra had taken part in many Colmar Festivals since 1989 when the Festival was arranged for the first time.
- The "Moscow Virtuosi" has a large discography. About 30 compact disks of different musical styles and periods, from baroque music to compositions of Penderecki, Schnittke, Gubaidulina, Pärt and Kancheli, have been recorded for the BMG/RCA Victor Read Seal Company. Marvelous musicians, such as Eugene Kissin, Shlomo Mintz, Natalie Schtutzman, Vladimir Krainev, Mikhail Rudy, Justus Frantz and many others recorded as soloists with "Moscow Virtuosi".
Since 2003 the “Moscow Virtuosi” Chamber Orchestra is permanently located and rehearses at the Moscow Performance Arts Centre which was recently built and opened on 26 of December 2002.