In 1979, an outstanding virtuoso violinist Vladimir Spivakov united the best Muscovite musicians to form the Moscow Virtuosi chamber orchestra. He has been its artistic director, conductor, and soloist ever since. As Maestro recalls on the pages of Solomon Volkov’s book Dialogues with Vladimir Spivakov, “the aura of this constellation of bright talents was unique.”
The brilliant ensemble, comprised of soloists and concertmasters of leading orchestras of the Russian capital, and the members of the illustrious Borodin Quartet (Mikhail Kopelman, Andrei Abramenkov, Dmitri Shebalin, and Valentin Berlinsky) passed the torch to new generations of talented musicians, winners of international and national competitions. The principles of the legendary comradeship of musicians remain unchanged: human qualities and high level of ethics are as important as professionalism and skills.
Every orchestra member is a bright personality and virtuoso musician, and together they constitute an internationally acclaimed orchestra, its highest performance level justifying its claim for the ambitious title of Moscow Virtuosi. A truly European manner of ensemble performance, concern for tiny details and nuances, solicitous and creative interpretation of the author’s ideas, bright artistic talent and love both for the performed pieces and for the audience are among the characteristics that distinguish the Moscow Virtuosi from many other chamber orchestras.
Its tour geography is very extensive: it includes European countries, the United States of America, Canada, Turkey, Israel, China, Japan etc. The Virtuosi give their concerts not only in the best and most prestigious concert halls, such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein 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. Naturally, the orchestra also performs in all regions of Russia, as well as in the former Soviet Union. According to Vladimir Spivakov, no person and no town are too small, and meetings with the audience are always priceless.
Throughout its history, the orchestra’s stage partners were and have been such outstanding musicians as Mstislav Rostropovich, Elena Obraztsova, Yehudi Menuhin, Vladimir Krainev, Saulius Sondeckis, Jessye Norman, Yuri Bashmet, Maxim Vengerov, Hibla Gerzmava, Evgeny Kissin, Mischa Maisky, Denis Matsuev, Shlomo Mintz, Mikhail Pletnev, Giora Feidman, Michel Legrand, Pinchas Zukerman. The Moscow Virtuosi has also performed under the baton of wonderful contemporary musicians Christian Zacharias, Julian Rachlin, Vadim Repin, Peter Guth, Andres Mustonen, Dmitry Sitkovetsky, Vladimir Feltsman, and others.
Many child prodigies, including grant-holders of the Vladimir Spivakov International Charity Foundation, make their debut with the Moscow Virtuosi and then regularly perform with the orchestra. For this purpose, Maestro Spivakov has created a special concert programme entitled “Moscow Virtuosi. Today and Tomorrow”, which is particularly admired by the audience. Some of these young musicians have now become acknowledged worldwide: a Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovitj, an Israeli cellist Danielle Akta, a Russian pianist Alexander Malofeev, to name but a few.
The Moscow Virtuosi is the only Russian orchestra to have released recordings under such famous labels as BMG Classics and RCA Red Seal. The numerous CDs reflect the musicians’ wide-ranging repertoire, which includes different musical styles and eras, from the European baroque to the works of 20th-century composers including Shostakovich, Penderecki, Schnittke, Pärt, Kancheli, Shchedrin, Denisov, and Gubaidulina.
Since 2003, the Moscow Virtuosi is a resident orchestra at the Moscow International Performing Arts Centre.
Every performance of the Moscow Virtuosi succeeds in exciting the audience emotionally and enthralling every listener (classical music aficionados and novices alike) intellectually, in giving them the pleasure of enjoying music masterpieces and evoking the desire to return to a classical music concert. Maestro Spivakov says that, for the orchestra, the creative process has become a necessity, and work has become the art that, as Pablo Picasso puts it, “washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life”.
The Moscow Virtuosi is deservedly among the best chamber orchestras in the world, having a loyal audience, critical acclaim, and high reputation that have been acquired by years of persistent yet joyful work.