Russian Alexandrov Ensemble Celebrating 90th Anniversary

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Russian Alexandrov Ensemble Celebrating 90th Anniversary

The Russian Alexandrov Ensemble is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Friday and is preparing for multiple festive concerts.

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 12th October, 2018) The Russian Alexandrov Ensemble is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Friday and is preparing for multiple festive concerts.

Head of the Alexandrov Ensemble Gennady Sachenyuk told Sputnik about the history, activities and future plans of the official army choir of the Russian armed forces.

He pointed out that the ensemble was unique due to its combination of song and dance, as well as use of both orchestral instruments and national instruments such as balalaikas, domras and accordions.

The ensemble was founded on October 12, 1928, when it gave its first concert at the Frunze Red Army Central House in Moscow. It consisted of just 12 artists at the time.

"The first head of the ensemble was an outstanding choirmaster, composer, professor of Moscow Conservatory, and a people's artist of the USSR, Maj. Gen. Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, who focused on folk songs and military themes in the ensemble's program," Sachenyuk said.

He pointed out that by the end of 1930s the ensemble consisted of 270 people. In 1937, it was awarded with the Grand Prix at the International Exposition of Art and Technology in Modern Life in Paris.

Speaking about the most impressive performances of the Alexandrov Ensemble, Sachenyuk mentioned those at the Vatican, NATO headquarters and in front of the White House.

"One of the most memorable performances was our concert at the Vatican, for Pope John Paul II and 28 cardinals. I especially remember the performance at the NATO headquarters and on the front lawn of the White House in Washington, when US President George H. W. Bush sang the song 'Oh, Shenandoah!' with us," Sachenyuk said.

The ensemble's head characterized the 2007 concert at the NATO headquarters as a sensation for the audience.

He added that the ensemble's performances at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing, Royal Opera House in Oman and Carnegie Hall in New York were also among the most remarkable ones.

According to Sachenyuk, the ensemble currently consists of 280 artists.

The main song performed by the ensemble is "The Sacred War," written by Alexandrov after the start of the Great Patriotic War in June 1941.

This song opens all of the ensemble's concerts.

"Many different songs about Russia were the signature songs of the ensemble at different times: 'Nightingales', 'Victory Day', 'Bow to Those Great Years'. For 90 years, the ensemble has developed a repertoire of best, time-tested songs. All of them are dedicated to the eternal topic of love for the motherland," Sachenyuk said.

He also said that the ensemble was actively cooperating with foreign ensembles.

According to Sachenyuk ensembles in China, South Korea, North Korea, Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia were created by the example of Alexandrov Ensemble.

ANNIVERSARY SEASON, PLANS FOR FUTURE

Sachenyuk noted that the entire 2018-2019 season would be dedicated to the ensemble's anniversary.

"The concerts that have already taken place in several Russian cities as well as four concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the first of which took place on October 5 at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall of the Moscow Philharmonic Society, were dedicated to the anniversary. Now we are preparing for the concert, which will be held on October 15 at the Bolshoi Theater. On October 28, we will perform at the Central Concert Hall 'Russia' and on November 10 at the Oktyabrskiy Big Concert Hall in the northern capital [St. Petersburg]," the ensemble's head said.

Sachenyuk said that this year the ensemble had already performed in three Russian cities that had been liberated from the Nazi German troops during World War II: Kursk, Belgorod and Oryol. There were also concerts in the Siberian Republic of Khakassia, Nizhny Novgorod, Tver, Kostroma, Russia's Far East as well as some foreign countries.

"But the main sphere of the Alexandrov Ensemble's activities is performing at full strength and by concert brigades wherever the Red, Soviet and Russian army soldiers served, in combat zones, hot spots, in military bases and remote posts, on board battleships and in hospitals," Sachenyuk said.

He added that the ensemble was going to expand its repertoire with folk songs and dances, as well as modern music such as songs by The Beatles and Queen.

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