The Moscow Chamber Orchestra was created in 1956 by renowned conductor and violist Rudolf Barshai, and has long been considered a Russian national treasure. Always a magnet for the most talented and brilliant musicians in Moscow, the MCO has been an inspiration to important Russian composers such as Dmitri Shostakovich, who entrusted the first performance of his 14th Symphony to the Orchestra.
The "dynamic Moscow Chamber Orchestra" (New York Times) is one of the world's great ensembles. First called "the greatest chamber orchestra in the world" by D. Shostakovich, the legendary Moscow Chamber Orchestra (= MCO) will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2006. The Orchestra's present Music Director, brilliant American pianist/conductor Constantine Orbelian, has brought the MCO into a new era of international activity and acclaim since his appointment in 1991. For his remarkable achievements with the MCO, Orbelian was awarded the title "Honored Artist of Russia" by President Putin in 2004.
From its 1995 performance at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the United Nations in San Francisco, to its 2004 performance at the U.S. State Department commemorating 70 years of diplomatic relations between Washington and Moscow, the MCO brings its celebrated artistry to a wide range of international audiences. The MCO's international tours typically take the Orchestra to the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Korea, Japan, South Africa, South America, Canada and the United States. Maestro Orbelian and the MCO now perform more than 120 concerts per year, including one or more annual Carnegie Hall appearances since 1998, and a sold-out subscription series in the Great Hall of Moscow's famed Tchaikovsky Conservatory. Under Orbelian's leadership the Orchestra was accorded the honor of "Academic" in its official Russian title (The State Academic Chamber Orchestra of Russia).
The Moscow Chamber Orchestra's acclaimed series of recordings with Maestro Orbelian on the Delos label numbers 18 recent releases, with four more currently in production. Both in its stellar recordings and electrifying live performances, the Orchestra attracts universal excitement. "They truly perform as a single, luminous, singing voice," exclaimed Sensible Sound. As London's The Daily Telegraph put it, "The musicians channel all of their emotion into the music and give performances of such passion and musicalityŠ producing music making of both subtlety and verve." The MCO's 50th Anniversary season will feature music written or arranged for the Orchestra, in addition to music long associated with the MCO's illustrious history.